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Martian cratering. II - Asteroid impact history.This paper considers the extent to which Martian craters can be explained by considering asteroidal impact. Sections I, II, and III of this paper derive the diameter distribution of hypothetical asteroidal craters on Mars from recent Palomar-Leiden asteroid statistics and show that the observed Martian craters correspond to a bombardment by roughly 100 times the present number of Mars-crossing asteroids. Section IV discusses the early bombardment history of Mars, based on the capture theory of Opik and probable orbital parameters of early planetesimals. These results show that the visible craters and surface of Mars should not be identified with the initial, accreted surface. A backward extrapolation of the impact rates based on surviving Mars-crossing asteroids can account for the majority of Mars craters over an interval of several aeons, indicating that we see back in time no further than part-way into a period of intense bombardment. An early period of erosion and deposition is thus suggested. Section V presents a comparison with results and terminology of other authors.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Hartmann, W. K.
(IIT Research Institute Tucson, Ariz., United States)
Date Acquired
August 6, 2013
Publication Date
December 1, 1971
Publication Information
Publication: Icarus
Volume: 15
Subject Category
Space Sciences
Accession Number
Distribution Limits

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