›The Workshop on the Early Solar System Impact Bombardment II
One of the legacies of the Apollo program is the concept of late heavy bombardment or a lunar cataclysm that may have resurfaced the Moon and thermally metamorphosed its crust. Several recent studies have continued to test that concept and explore the implications any bombardment may have for our understanding of lunar evolution. It has also been posited to be a factor in the origin and early evolution of life on Earth.
Moon-forming ImpactPerhaps the largest collisional event implicated in the evolution of the Moon is the hypothesized impact of a body twice the size of the Moon with the proto-Earth, producing a cloud of debris from which the Moon coalesced. That giant impact hypothesis continues to be avidly explored in the planetary science community.
Interest in these two themes continue to grow, particularly following a National Research Council report about The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon that places a tests of the lunar cataclysm hypothesis and giant impact hypothesis among the top lunar science priorities.
Purpose and Scope
Recognizing the community’s interest in these topics, the Lunar and Planetary Institute and partners within the NASA Lunar Science Institute have organized a workshop to explore them. The workshop will provide an opportunity to integrate several diverse components of the above topics, including an assessment of the geologic record of impact cratering throughout the solar system, cosmochemical constraints on any early bombardment, and dynamic models that might explain the flux of debris and potential changes in the flux of debris. The goal is to investigate the range of collisional events from the era of planetary accretion to the end of the basin-forming epoch.
Although the Moon will be a central component of the workshop, the discussion will include observations elsewhere, such as Mercury, Mars, the asteroid belt, and outer solar system moons.