The supercomputer's model of the planetary collisions demonstrated that phenomena occurring in the late stages of planetary formation has a wide range of effects on young planets and their atmospheres. That study was carried out by the specialists from two research centers: the University of Durham and the University of Glasgow. The scientists managed to develop a mechanism for revealing the scale of the loss of the atmosphere in the process of planetary collisions.
A 3D modeling program has demonstrated variations where planets with thin Earth-like atmospheres evolve in the early Solar System while interacting with other objects. The COSMA supercomputer has shown over a hundred detailed simulations that can occur when planets collide.
Direct collisions of planets at high speeds subsequently lead to significant erosion, destroying the atmosphere along with part of the mantle and the layer that is located under the planet's crust. By considering simulation options, the researchers were able to draw conclusions about what happens during such giant collisions in space.
They are important processes in outer space, influencing evolutionary events in the Solar System and beyond it. A striking example of a possible collision of planets and subsequent events is the formation of the Moon.
Science believes that the Moon appeared about 4.5 billion years ago as a result of a collision between the early Earth and a giant space object, the size of which was comparable to the size of the Mars. By conducting computer simulations of that situation, the scientists have found that the planet has lost about 50% of its atmosphere.
Lead researcher Dr. Jacob Kegerreis believes that planetary collisions have a significant impact on the atmosphere. The consequences can be very different, but thanks to existing technologies, they can be predicted. This, in turn, will help the scientists to understand the history of the Earth as a habitable planet and the evolution of the exoplanets around other stars.