Planetary migration as a possible cause of the great meteor storm

According to a new study, the migration of giant gas planets like Jupiter was the cause of the largest meteor storm in the history of our Solar System.

The research, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, clearly outlines the causes of late intense bombardment (also known as lunar cataclysm or LHB) Late Heavy Bombardment), a cosmic storm of about 3.9 billion years ago, which shaped the solar system we know today.

For a long time, scientists have worked with the hypothesis that the Bombing was caused by planetary migration, so Jupiter and Saturn moved closer to the Sun, while Neptune and Uranus moved away from where they formed.

The gravitational effects caused by these migrations they threw a large number of meteors towards the Solar System interior, where they collided with everything they caught in between, including Earth and the Moon. Although he is also credited with sending asteroids and comets that currently maintain their orbits.

This new report of researchers from Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, including lead author Dr. Simone Marchi, supports the hypothesis based on a study of the lunar rocks of the Apollo 16 and two main types of meteoroids.

These include Condritas H, which make up almost half of the meteors and meteorites that are believed to have originated the main object of the asteroid belt, Vesta.

Marchi and his colleagues used argon isotope readings to determine when the impact that created the samples occurred.

His models and computer simulations indicate a period of intense meteor bombardment throughout the solar system between 3.4 and 4.1 million years, coinciding with the late intense Bombardment.

Argon readings also indicate that meteorite samples could only have resulted from high-energy impacts of about 10 kilometers per second.

Support for the theory of late intense bombardment had diminished after the revelations that some lunar zircons and gaps caused by the impacts were more than four million years old.

These findings raise the possibility of an alternative idea in which the dates represent impacts of a gently decreasing bombardment of surplus material from the planetary construction.

But scientist Dr. Simon O'Toole of astronomical Observatory Australian says that the new document addresses the doubts about planetary migration in our Solar System.

The new calculations provide an important result in the existing models of planetary migration and the theory of late intense bombardment

O'Toole says.

The previous models only predicted the impacts of low speed, values ​​less than five kilometers per second that occur in the asteroid belt. Higher speeds would have placed these asteroids in orbits that would have crossed the planets, crashing into them, quickly emptying the asteroid belt

However, the gravitational influence of the migratory planets changed the orbits of the asteroids by sending them well above and below the orbital plane of the Solar System, reducing the risks of a planetary collision.

The study gives us a good basis for a better understanding of the Solar System and how it became what it is now

It concludes.