The inner and outer solar system between the giant planets
Astrophysicists have carefully studied the long-term development of centaur routes - the minor bodies of the solar system, whose orbits initially rotated between Jupiter and Neptune. Scientists estimated the number of close passages and impacts with terrestrial planets after a late heavy bombardment about 3.8 billion years ago, as well as the possible size of craters appearing after a collision with Earth or similar planets.
In general, centaurs are descended from trans-Neptunian objects and belong to sources of near-earth objects. Therefore, it is extremely important to understand their orbital evolution, which in certain situations can lead to a collision with terrestrial planets and catastrophic events. The analysis revealed a steady population of centaurs. Also appreciated the possible size of the crater. The bottom line is that centaurs can transform into active comets due to the presence of large amounts of water. Therefore, the team calculated the approximate amount of water released to the Earth, which is comparable to the current volume of the Adriatic Sea. Crater sizes can span up to hundreds of kilometers in diameter. But, given the known population of the centaurs, most of the craters will be less than 10 km. For all planets and the average size of a shock object with a diameter of 12 km, the researchers determine an average of two blows since the late heavy bombardment of the Earth. It was less intense than the influence of asteroids between Mars and Jupiter, but the centaurs are larger and more massive. For example, for centaurs with a size greater than 1 km, the frequency of strikes is much higher. It is believed that centaurs could cause serious catastrophic events on Earth.
These results are important for the analysis of catastrophic events of extraterrestrial origin, which also concern Mars and Venus. New research improves the appearance of how past events could change life on Earth and other planets. For example, they could destroy life or create favorable conditions (hydrothermal activity) for the formation of new species. This is also important for understanding the evolution of the solar system. Scientists note that centaurs are also capable of delivering water to Mars in a collision.