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 and for the origin and early evolution of life on Earth. That lunar record has also recently been expanded to include studies of asteroids and other solar system bodies.

Another legacy of the Apollo era is the giant impact model, in which the Moon forms as a result of an oblique impact between the early Earth and another planet-sized body. Computer simulations have established that such an impact can produce an appropriately massive and iron-poor disk around the Earth. However, uncertainty remains as to how best reconcile the impact theory with key observed properties of the Moon. These include the Moon’s close compositional similarity to the Earth’s mantle, the lunar depletion in volatile elements, and a potentially water-rich lunar interior.

Recognizing the community’s interest in these topics, the LPI and partners within the NASA Solar System Exploration Research Institute (SSERVI) have organized a workshop to explore them. The workshop will provide an opportunity to integrate several diverse components of the above topics. Example topics relevant to the lunar cratering record include an assessment of the geologic record of impact cratering throughout the solar system, cosmochemical constraints on any early bombardment, and dynamical models that might explain the flux of debris and potential changes in the flux of debris. Example topics relevant to lunar origin include cosmochemical and geophysical constraints on lunar formation; giant impact simulations; the chemical, thermal, and/or dynamical evolution of the protolunar disk; and the accretion and early evolution of the Moon.

The goal is to investigate the range of collisional events from the late stages of terrestrial planet accretion to the end of the basin-forming epoch on the Moon. 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.

The workshop will be dominated by contributed oral and poster presentations, although a small number of invited presentations are planned to frame the issues to be explored. These will be designed to set the stage for the workshop and identify broad issues. Contributed talks and posters that then follow will add detail and hopefully new information that helps resolve the broad issues.

The Workshop on Early Solar System Impact Bombardment III will be held February 4–6, 2015, at the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), located in the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) building, 3600 Bay Area Boulevard, Houston TX 77058.

Registration now open!

For further information regarding the meeting visit the Workshop webpage.

Posted by: Soderman/SSERVI Staff
Source: SSERVI Team

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The moon's deepest craters are 4,500 meters (15,000 ft).

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