The early dynamical evolution of the solar system up until ~3.8 billion years ago is a period of intense bombardment of the inner planets. Recent advancements in early solar system dynamics and lunar sample analyses speak in favor of the steadily declining impact flux on the pre-Nectarian Moon and Hadean Earth, which indicate that the Earth-Moon system survived a more intense bombardment during this eon than previously thought. These impacts would have had a profound effect on the early Earth and Moon crust and interior evolution. However, there is still a lack of terrestrial and lunar cratering records to support this. To understand the evolution of the terrestrial planets, the impact history of large impacts on Mars will be another part of this project. With the most recent discoveries of the crust and mantle structure of Mars, thanks to the NASA InSight mission, this project can look into the evolution of Mars via the impact bombardment process. This will be combined with remote sensing data and numerical impact modeling and applied to interpret the geological record on the Moon, Earth, and Mars. This way, early Earth is studied in the context of the early solar system evolution. Datasets from lunar and Mars missions, particularly from NASA InSight, will be applied to create a bigger picture of the origins of terrestrial planets. The proposed research project will employ the Pawsey Centre supercomputing resources and planetary science expertise at SSTC (https://sstc.curtin.edu.au/).
Deadline: August 13, 2021 (no extensions)
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