36th DPS Meeting, 8-12 November 2004
Session 19 Rings
Poster I, Tuesday, November 9, 2004, 4:00-7:00pm, Exhibition Hall 1A

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[19.05] Meteoroid Impacts onto Saturn's Rings

L.S. Chambers (Univ. of California - Santa Cruz), J.N. Cuzzi (NASA Ames Research Center), E. Asphaug (Univ. of California - Santa Cruz)

Over the past decade, flash impacts have been observed on the moon and in the laboratory in both the IR and visible portions of the spectrum. These phenomena have been used to constrain impact parameters, such as impact velocity and composition. With the arrival of the Cassini spacecraft at Saturn this past July, we have embarked on a study of impact flashes in Saturnís rings. We begin by modeling high energy, hypervelocity impact events using CTH, a shock physics hydrodynamics code developed at Sandia National Laboratories. The simulated impacts involve two icy bodies (ranging from a centimeter to several meters in diameter) impacting each other at velocities over 30 km/s. The resulting impact-induced vapor plume is post-processed to consider its radiative evolution using NEQAIR, a radiative transfer code developed at NASA Ames. The results of this study will be used as an aid to investigate flash impact in Saturnís rings using Cassiniís Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS). Here we present our latest modeling results.

This work is supported by a Graduate Student Researchers Program Fellowship from NASA Headquarters and by the Cassini project.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #4
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.