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Featured Image: Smashing Spheres of Ice

20 Jul 2020, 16:00 UTC
Featured Image: Smashing Spheres of Ice
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

You’re looking at a frozen, hollow shell of ice roughly 20 cm in diameter and 3 cm thick. In a new laboratory study, scientists Kathryn Harriss and Mark Burchell (University of Kent, UK) have studied what happens when a shell like this is shot with a small, high-speed projectile, causing the ice shell to explode into pieces. You can watch a slow motion video of their experiment below!
This process simulates the possible high-speed collisions and catastrophic disruptions of icy bodies — like the frozen moons of Saturn and Jupiter — in the early solar system. By exploring how a hollow ice sphere responds to impact, Harriss and Burchell hope to better understand the relative roles of a body’s core and its surface layers in determining what happens during a catastrophic disruption. Which is more important in a collision: an icy object’s crust or its core? Check out the original article, linked below, for more information on what the authors learned.

https://cdn.iopscience.com/images/2632-3338/1/1/19/Full/psjab8f34f2_video.mp4Citation
“Catastrophic Disruption of Hollow Ice Spheres,” Kathryn H. Harriss and Mark J. Burchell 2020 Planet. Sci. J. 1 19. doi:10.3847/PSJ/ab8f34

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