Impacts shape planets


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Examples of Impact craters in our solar system, particularly Earth

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Impacts shape planets

  1. 1. Earth’s Place in the Universe<br />1.Astronomy and planetary exploration reveal the solar system’s structure, scale, and change over time. As a basis for understanding this concept:<br />a.Studentsknow how the differences and similarities among the sun, the terrestrial planets, and the gas planets may have been established during the formation of the solar system.<br />b. Students know the evidence from Earth and moon rocks indicates that the solar system was formed from a nebular cloud of dust and gas approximately 4.6 bil­ lion years ago.<br />c. Students know the evidence from geological studies of Earth and other planets suggest that the early Earth was very different from Earth today.<br />d. Students know the evidence indicating that the planets are much closer to Earth than the stars are.<br />e.Students know the Sun is a typical star and is powered by nuclear reactions, primarily the fusion of hydrogen to form helium.<br />f. Students know the evidence for the dramatic effects that asteroid impacts have had in shaping the surface of planets and their moons and in mass extinctions of life on Earth.<br />g.* Students know the evidence for the existence of planets orbiting other stars. <br />
  2. 2. 2.Earth-based and space-based astronomy reveal the structure, scale, and changes in stars, galaxies, and the universe over time. As a basis for understanding this concept:<br />a.Studentsknow the solar system is located in an outer edge of the disc-shaped Milky Way galaxy, which spans 100,000 light years.<br />b. Students know galaxies are made of billions of stars and comprise most of the visible mass of the universe.<br />Students know the evidence indicating that all elements with an atomic number greater than that of lithium have been formed by nuclear fusion in stars.<br />d. Students know that stars differ in their life cycles and that visual, radio, and X-ray telescopes may be used to collect data that reveal those differences.<br />e.* Students know accelerators boost subatomic particles to energy levels that simulate conditions in the stars and in the early history of the universe before stars formed.<br />f.*Students know the evidence indicating that the color, brightness, and evolution of a star are determined by a balance between gravitational collapse and nuclear fusion. <br />g.* Students know how the red-shift from distant galaxies and the cosmic background radiation provide evidence for the “big bang” model that suggests that the uni­ verse has been expanding for 10 to 20 billion years. <br />
  3. 3. f. Students know the evidence for thedramatic effects that asteroid impacts have had in shaping surface of planets and their moonsand in mass extinctions of life on Earth.<br />
  4. 4. Comets and asteroids strike the Earth and Moon at a wide range of impact speeds, with 20 kilometers per second being typical. Such a high-speed impact will produce a crater that is 10 to 20 times larger in diameter than the impacting object.<br />
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  13. 13. “Splosh” crater, about five miles across, indicates that a meteorite collided with water- or ice-rich ground. Some sixty miles to the west of the crater is a large flood channel (not shown) called MangalaVallis (Mangala is Sanskrit for “Mars”). Impact craters such as the one shown are common all over Mars. The image was made by a Viking orbiter.<br />
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  16. 16. Scientists have found no less than 20 new craters etched into the red planet's surface from space rocks that pummeled Mars within the last seven years."If you were to live on Mars for about 20 years, you would live close enough to one of these events to hear it," said researcher Michael Malin, who led the study. "So there'd be a big boom, and you'd know there was an impact crater."<br />
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  18. 18. This image of Saturn's moon Tethys shows numerous impact craters as small as 5 kilometers across. Much of this moon is very heavily cratered, indicating an ancient surface.<br />
  19. 19. The circular structure in this image is the Tyre impact basin on Europa, a moon of Jupiter. At least 5 basin rings can be distinguished (compare with the Moon's Schrodinger impact basin, shown above). The general absence of other impact craters in this image indicates that Europa has a very young surface and remains geologically active<br />