One of the most fundamental geological processes that shape the surface of terrestrial planets is impact cratering. The primary method to study impact craters is based on remote sensing of geomorphological processes on planetary surfaces. Spatial distribu tion of craters and cratering statistics are calculated from remote sensing data and then used to evaluate relative and absolute surface ages, and the sequence of geological events on terrestrial planets. The crater formation itself is rarely observed and thus, numerical simulations and up-scaled laboratory experiments are the tools to investigate the crater formation process. Merging these two very different lines of investigation (crater counting and statistics vs. numerical simulation of impact crateri ng) is the goal of the CRATER project.
The scientific aim of the proposed project is to better understand the role of layered targets in impact crater formation on different scales. Softer targets allow for larger craters than harder targets under the s ame impact conditions. Both, lateral and radial variations of target properties can cause variability in the shape of the crater size frequency distribution. This variation may be important when crater scaling laws are applied to calibrate the cratering c hronology models, for instance on Mars.
In this collaboration we will test the significance of implications of target property variations on the calibration of the cratering chronology models.