Impacts experiments onto heterogeneous targets simulating impact breccia: Implications for impact strength of asteroids and formation of the asteroid families

Leliwa-Kopystynski, J. , Arakawa, M.


235, 2014, 147-155, 10.1016/j.icarus.2014.03.012

A series of impact experiments onto solid decimeter-sized cylinders made of porous gypsum admixed with approximately 1 cm-sized pebbles have been performed. The target densities and their heterogeneous structures could be representative of those of the asteroids Ida, Eros and many others, because asteroid sub-surface could be the consolidated boulders made by self-compaction and/or by impact compaction. Impact velocities in the experiments ranged from 2.0 km/s to 6.7 km/s (collision velocity in the asteroid main belt is approximately 5 km/s). It was found that the slope of the cumulative number distribution of post-impact fragments strongly depends on the specific energy of the impact. The presence of pebbles strongly influences the impact strength of the target as well as the size distribution of the post-impact fragments. Results of the experiments presented here are aimed at identifying the analogy between the laboratory results and the damage of small asteroids or their catastrophic disruption after impacts.