Craters are ubiquitous in the Solar System and are the signatures of cataclysmic events intimately linked to the formation and evolution of all objects in the Solar System. Planets may have been formed through collisions and accretion of smaller bodies. Asteroids and comets have deposited on Earth some of our water, and possibly organic material. Impacts may have also been the cause of major destructions on our planet, from large scale extinctions to city-scale damage like the Chelyabinsk event in 2013.
The AKO group is involved with numerical modeling of impacts and investigate two major problems:
To address these problems, Detlef de Niem (AKO) developed the BE hydrocode (Backward Euler / BErlin), an upgrade of the multi-material method by de Niem, Kührt and Motschmann (Computer Phys. Comm, 2007). It is our basic tool to investigate formation of craters in hypervelocity impact, the outcome of collisions between planetesimals and problems related to the deflection of hazardous Near Earth Objects. The algorithm handles multiple materials, including porous matter. Our simulations have been tested against laboratory experiments and used to study consequences of low-velocity collisions of porous planetesimals like comets (de Niem, Icarus 2018). We are currently applying our model to support the AIDA mission case: an ESA/NASA mission which will attempt to change the orbit of the small moon of the binary asteroid 65803 Didymos with a kinetic impactor.
Since 2018, Jean-Baptiste Vincent (AKO) leads an international ISSI working group investigating the outcome of collisions in the early outer Solar System. We research how the primordial collisional environment contributed to the formation of planetesimals, and what this means for the general evolution of our Solar System and extrasolar ones.