Impact cratering and break up of the small bodies of the Solar System

Leliwa-Kopystynski, J; Burchell, MJ; Lowen, D.


195(2), 2008, 817-826, 10.1016/j.icarus.2008.02.010

We consider the largest impact craters observed on small satellites and asteroids and the impact disruption of such bodies. Observational data are considered from 21 impact-like structures on 13 satellites and 8 asteroids (target body radii in the range 0.7-265 km). If the radius of the target body is R and the diameter of the largest crater observed on this body D, the ratio D / R is then the main observational parameter of interest. This is found on the observed bodies and compared to data obtained in the laboratory. Taking the largest observed value for D / R as a proxy for the ratio Dc / R (where Dc is the diameter of the largest crater that can be formed on a body without shattering it) it was found that for the observed icy satellites Dc, icy ≈ 1.2 R and for the asteroids and the rocky satellites Dc, rocky ≈ 1.6 R. In laboratory experiments with ice targets at impactor speeds of 1 to 3 km s-1 we obtained Dc, icy ≈ 1.64 R.