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Accumulation of the Terrestrial PlanetsThe validity of the two body approximation in calculations of planetary growth is examined. Use of this approximation is essential to practical 3 dimensional simulations of planetary growth. With regard to gravitational perturbations, the changes in semimajor axis, eccentricity, and inclination resulting from close planetesimal encounters (near 1 A.U.) out to 10 Tisserand sphere of influence radii were calculated by two and three dimensional numerical integration. These were compared with the results of treating the encounter as a two body problem, as is customary in Monte Carlo calculations of orbital evolution and in numerical and analytical studies of planetary accumulation. It is found that for values of (V/V sub e) approx. 0.35 (V = relative velocity, V = escape velocity of largest body), the two body approximation fails to describe the outcome of individual encounters. In this low velocity region, the two body gravitational focusing cross section is no longer valid.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Wetherill, G. W.
(Carnegie Institution of Washington Washington, DC, United States)
Date Acquired
August 12, 2013
Publication Date
April 1, 1985
Publication Information
Publication: NASA, Washington Repts. of Planetary Geol. and Geophys. Program, 1984
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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