Collision between Mars and Jupiter

Discussion in 'Alternative Theories' started by Marcus, Jan 28, 2015.

  1. Marcus Registered Senior Member


    A few years back I had the idea that the topography of Mars could have been largely created by a close encounter with Jupiter. I posted it on several forums and got some great responses. (And some angry trolls, but hey it is the internet so what can you do)

    The introduction video to this idea is here:

    This is a flyby that tears out the Hellas basin. I found that a great many people thought that it went by the Roche limit. I'd just like to point out ahead of time that Mars has a fairly high density so the Roche limit does not come into play.

    I made a video showing the location of some things around Jupiter because of this common confusion.

    I just made a video showing what I consider to be the most easily grasped evidence of this:

    I have a video planned for the trajectory of the event. I found that many people are convinced that falling into Jupiter or being flung out of the solar system are the only options. I found many planetary scientists I contacted recommended the L4 or L5 lagrangian point as the start of the trajectory. I have decided to adopt this rather than my initial idea of a highly elliptical Mars triggered by a orbital resonance. L4 would accelerate while L5 would decelerate leading to the correct Hamiltonian.

    I also have a video planned for the timing of the event. One commenter noted that we would of totally noticed this happening. I guess he was thinking that it was breaking news. We have been watching Mars for quite some time and although it saddens me that I have to make it explicit- This event occurred before the invention of astronomy.

    So I'm posting on this forum to see if there is other flaws of this idea that I have not addressed. I want to run it by as many people as possible before I start the laborious task of submission to journals.

    So, if you think you have a debunking concept or just a facet of the idea that needs more depth please tell me. It may be something I have worked out already but have not mentioned, but hopefully it might be something that I have missed. I have had this idea for awhile so it appears obvious to me, I understand if it does not appear so to you; I'd like to know why you have a dubious perspective.

    If you don't accept the idea but don't have a reason why, perhaps you can share it with someone who can come up with a reason.

    If you like the idea and have a piece of supporting evidence I have not mentioned, that would be great too.

    If you simply like the idea, I always appreciate a like, share or nice comment. The internet can be a very negative place.

    Thank you.
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  3. origin Heading towards oblivion Valued Senior Member

    Really? Are you impling that many planetary scientist thought you idea was a good idea?
    I think you biggest flaw is the lack of evidence. You presented no evidence that would suggest a collision or close encounter.

    Good luck on your journal submissions.
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  5. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    I'd like to see your calculation of that.

    In any case, while you've made some pretty animations, not even the logic makes any sense. I can't fathom a mechanism by which Jupiter could carve-out a canyon on Mars. It's just handwaving and imagination.
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  7. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

    So you are saying that just the first few kilometers of Mars hit the Roche limit? That seems unlikely in the extreme.
    I don't think being flung out of the system or captured by Jupiter are the only two options. But one of the options is NOT a relatively stable orbit 340 million miles closer to the Sun than Jupiter is. I don't see any mechanism that could make that happen.
  9. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    If Mars, [a terrestrial planet] and Jupiter [a gaseous giant] would have had any collision as you suggest, I would think that the atmosphere of Jupiter would have undergone more loss/damage than any depression on Mars.
    And although planetary migration may have happened in the distant past, we have no actual evidence of any collision.
  10. Bells Staff Member

    Mars is not that big. You have it so big in your videos, etc. It is nowhere near that big. To portray it as being that big is to misrepresent it and lends plausibility to your, ermm, personal theory.

    If Mars ever came close enough for Jupiter to affect it's terrestrial integrity, it would have captured it as one of its moons. If not, it would have affect it's orbit enough to probably veer it well out of the solar system.

    Most importantly, we know that the Hellas Planitia is a massive impact crater. One of the largest in our solar system, I believe.
  11. Marcus Registered Senior Member

    Wow, where to start. So many comments and so many misintrepretations

    I'm working on several different scenarios regarding the trajectory. The main one is that Mars was caught at L5 for a short time and looped around Jupiter causing a gravity "assist" which actually decelerates it. A quick calculation shows that the new total energy is about the same as the new orbit. However, the e is higher than what we see today (Mars does still possess a fairly high e) so this requires perturbations from other planets to slowly correct itself over a long long time. Alternately, a second close encounter can correct it quickly.

    Alternately, I read about a N-Body simulation that posited Jupiter being within Mars's current orbit during the formation (end oligarchic; 4.1-3.8Gy) stage then migrates outward due to type II planetary migration. Then Mars can just start with approximately it's current orbit after the encounter

    Generally speaking, in order to capture something as a moon it has to slow down, getting close isn't enough not unless drag comes into play. Jupiter and Mars are scaled correctly, Jupiter is simply farther from the camera.

    The atmosphere of Jupiter would of been affected- true but you seem confused, did you watch the videos to see what 'collision' means in this context?

    "So you are saying that just the first few kilometers of Mars hit the Roche limit?"- No, I even mentioned explicitly (and made an entire video) that I did not mean that.

    The gravity on the side of Mars closest to Jupiter drops to a total of zero. This causes a reduction of pressure, which triggers vulcanism. It seems pretty straightforward, it is simply a scaled up Enceladus.

    Mercury is believed to have undergone a collision (with an unknown planet); The Earth and Moon are believed to have collided. I'm glad I don't have to convince you of those things. What evidence convinced you of these things?

    The reaction runs the entire gambut, from highly positive to highly negative.

    You can say 'lack of evidence' as an argument. You hear that all the time in global warming or evolution debates. Could you describe what you would want as evidence?
    This scenario has a great many predictions ( it has a high falsifability, which is good thing if you don't know what falsifability means ). So far all of the predictions are true.

    BTW: The Roche limit calculation can be done by inspection of the formula while noting that Mars's density exceeds Jupiter by more than 2.
  12. billvon Valued Senior Member

    A second encounter cannot circularize the orbit unless the resulting circular orbit was the same as Jupiter's.
    Then it has reached the Roche limit. That's the definition.
    Right. The difference is that there is evidence for both AGW and evolution.
    Jupiter moons with compositions almost identical to Mars - but drastically different from the remainder of Jupiter's moons - would be a good start. As would a "hard line" in the dating of crater formation times.
  13. Marcus Registered Senior Member

    Gravity is symmetric in time, so saying an orbit can never be circularized is saying a circular orbit can never be destabilized. I understand how this may be hard to imagine.

    The Roche limit (pronounced /ˈroʊʃ/), sometimes referred to as the Roche radius, is the distance within which a celestial body, held together only by its own gravity, will disintegrate due to a second celestial body's tidal forces exceeding the first body's gravitational self-attraction.

    I understand your confusion, it is quite common. It is not tidal force, ie the difference between Jupiter's gravity at each end of Mars.

    I appreciate your idea to demonstrate the composition comparision between the minor moons and Mars. This is a good idea. Thank you.
  14. billvon Valued Senior Member

    ?? Not at all. Spacecraft change their orbits all the time by applying an impulse. But an elliptical orbit - or a circular orbit - will be stable without external forces applied. So you would have to have an explanation as to what circularizing force was applied.

    Correct. And an object is at its Roche limit when the surface gravity goes to zero on either side of the object - which is the event you describe.
  15. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Sure it does (or at least may). If Mars had same mass but was less dense, then surface material would be easier to pull off Mars, so Jupitor would not need to come as close to Mar to do that. You need to compute, not assert, what is the gradient at the surface of Jupiter and see if at near contact with Mars, that gradient acting on say 100km deep piece of Mars is not greater than Mars' own gradient holding that 100km slab to Mars.

    The net gradient force requires some "Slab thickness" Alternatively you can just compare the strength of gravity at the surfaces (Mars vs Jupiter's) I.e. as Jupiter approaches Mars does a lose rock on Mar's surface "fall" towards Jupiter? Or conversely does some of the Jupiter gas fall to Mars? With gas there is no cohesive strength to complicate the calculation. (why I asked about a "lose rock.")
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2015
  16. Bells Staff Member

    Not in the images and videos you linked in your OP. Mars is not that big compared to Jupiter. Remember, Mars is smaller than Earth. If you compare Mars and Jupiter, the difference is immense. Hence why how you presented your theory in the OP is very misleading.

    What you are proposing is that Jupiter came close enough to Mars to suck out a hole out of Mars, or more to the point, suck out a crater shaped and deep crater out of Mars. Hellas Planitia is a giant hole, a giant impact crater/hole on Mars:

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    What you are suggesting is that Jupiter and Mars, virtually kissed, and Jupiter removed a chunk of Mars by way of a giant hole, while leaving the rest of the region untouched. This is not plausible.

    Then of course comes your assertion that some of the debris or asteroids that would have resulted from such an event would become moons of Jupiter and Mars. Again, we have no evidence that Jupiter's many moons are Martian in origin.

    Nor does your hypothesis explain how those small fragments of Mars are able to escape Jupiter's immense gravity to either fall back to Mars or become one or both of its moons.

    The nearly antipodal Tharsis Bulge, corresponds with a giant impact. There is other evidence of such impacts elsewhere on Mars. From its Borealis Basin, which may very well be an even bigger impact in the solar system, to the Isidis Planitia, which is also roughly antipodal to the Tharsis Bulge, which could explain why the Tharsis volcanoes and mountain ranges are so damn huge. Mars is littered with giant impact craters. The Argyre Planitia is also antipodal to the Elysium volcanoes.

    Which is why there is so much clear evidence (such as the height of hits walls) that the Hellas Planitia is the result of a giant impact.

    The solar system was smashed by asteroids and comets billions of years ago. Mars is ample proof of that.
  17. Marcus Registered Senior Member

    Now a nice site for calculating impact effects is this one: http://impact.ese.ic.../ImpactEffects/

    Using a 400km iron meteor @51km/s and 45 degrees with sedimentary rock, produces a crater close to Hellas size that is completely engulfed by its melt. Feel free to change the parameters.

    (I find it fun and interesting to see the different effects.)

    The bottom of Hellas isn't even flat, which given even the most conservative estimate of melting would result.

    Back to the Roche limit; if Mars hits the Roche limit it get completely torn apart, torn into several or many large fragments. Like Shoemaker-Levy or even a ring(but that would require time).

    If it is farther away (like Io) there is simply some minor flexing.

    I'm suggesting that there exists intermediate values between these two points.

    Side note: Alba Mons is antipodal to Hellas. The most underrated and ignored of the big volcanoes
  18. Marcus Registered Senior Member

    Here is a nice post about the idea that Tharsis is created from an impact.

    Actually, the idea that the Hellas impact might have caused the Tharsis has been tossed around a bit. Alas, it doesn't really seem to work out, as nice as the theory sounds at first.

    There are several reasons to think that the two events are unrelated:

    1. The two sites aren't really antipodal (on opposite sides of the planet). Hellas basin is located at about 65° east and 50° south. Tharsis is at about 240° east and pretty much on the equator. So while the two locations are about 180° of longitude apart, they're 50° of latitude off. Is this a lot? Yes, it actually is. If you imagine drawing a circle with a radius of 50° around the antipode of Hellas, you'll end up enclosing about 20% of the planet's surface. So I can easily believe it's coincidence that the two are as close to antipodal as they are.
    2. Timing. While it's difficult to get an accurate date on Tharsis, it seems that the most recent eruptions are relatively recent events, perhaps occurring as recently as 20 million years ago. They are almost certainly from the past billion years. Hellas is much, much older than this, at around 3.9 billion years old. So if Hellas caused Tharsis, the effect would have had to continue to cause Tharsis to erupt over billions of years. (What could prove to be even worse for the theory, I've seen some dating schemes that indicate that Tharsis started before Hellas was formed. Unfortunately, dating Tharsis without being able to drill down into the older layers is tricky at best.)
    3. There's no known mechanism to go from an impact to forming a large shield volcano across the planet. Tharsis is big. Really, really big. Even an impact as big as Hellas wouldn't be enough to pop Tharsis out of the other side of the planet. To form something that large, you need to create sustained volcanism there, which requires moving a lot of material in the interior of the planet. That's takes a lot of work, and it doesn't seem likely that an impact packs enough punch for it. So for, models agree with this intuition.
    All of this isn't to say that you cannot get effects on at the antipode to an impact site. On Mercury we see "weird terrain" opposite the Caloris Basin impact site. On the Moon, remnants of a magnetic field are found clustered opposite impact sites. But it's important to note that these effects are superficial: they don't seem to affect the deep interior of the planet, just the thin surface layer.

    Another point worth mentioning: I doubt if you can accurately extract the impact angle/direction from which the Hellas impact arrived. Most planetary impactors arrive at hypersonic speeds so that their craters are not carved out, but instead are more of a blast effect. One of the results of this is that impactors leave circular craters, regardless of the direction that they arrived from. (There are qualifications to this, but this is true for the majority of impacts.) When you see non-circular shapes, this is generally telling you more about the underlying geology of the site than about the impactor. (Barringer (aka Meteor) Crater in Arizona, for example, has a somewhat square shape due to fault lines in the area.)

    I would like to add that you can get antipodal effects from tidal forces
  19. billvon Valued Senior Member


    It sounds like you may have a basic misconception about what the Roche limit is, though. You stated earlier that in your scenario, "The gravity on the side of Mars closest to Jupiter drops to a total of zero" - which is the definition of the Roche limit. But you also say that Mars did not hit the Roche limit. So one of those is incorrect.
  20. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Also agreed. This would leave Mars egg-shaped, with two lobes, one on each side. However the opposite has happened in this case - one peak, one crater.
  21. Bells Staff Member

    I will play around with it later. Possibly with my children who are really really into this stuff.. They would spend hours playing Super Planet Crash if I let them. Stuffing around with that, if you design it so that a small Earth sized planet came that close to a giant planet (like Jupiter) it will affect the smaller planet's orbit around the sun. Which clearly indicates that if Jupiter came that close to small Mars, Mars' orbit around the sun would be much different than it is now.

    Hellas is not flat because it also suffered later impacts and would have been affected by impacts near by. And there are many. Mars is literally littered with impacts.

    Yes, but this is not just flexing. This is coming close enough to rip out a chunk of Mars, or to put it bluntly, dig a hole in Mars. There is no evidence that such a thing occurred. There is every indication that an impact occurred because of the topography of Mars supports it and does not support a close encounter with Jupiter.

    Also, what you are describing happening with Mars is the Roche limit, but you are saying that it is not. So perhaps you should further elaborate on the point?

    The impact corresponds with the topography of the planet.

    One final note.

    Not all impacts will leave directly circular impact craters. That depends on the angle and the speed of the chunk of rock that is hitting the planet, not to mention the effects of weather after billions of years.
  22. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    "Can be done", meaning you haven't actually done the calculation? All you've done is look at the formula? Science doesn't work that way. You have to do the calculation to show the result is what you claim it will be. Your intuition isn't good enough.
  23. Marcus Registered Senior Member

    The larger the impact,the less impact angle and impactor shape come into play and the more shock waves dominate the shape of the crater.

    The website allows you to easily access peer-reviewed formulae, and calculate them for you, regarding impact events. Dismissing it means dismissing using math involved.
    It also clearly shows how the topography of Mars does not support the impact hypothesis.

    By inspection is used all the time. For example, in relativity one notes that v<<c. I suggest inspecting the Roche limit formula:

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    and note that since the density of Mars exceeds Jupiter's by more than a factor of 2, it occurs within Jupiter's radius, which makes calculation moot. (You could calculate it but the result has no real meaning)

    However the calculation of the net gravity experienced by a point particle when Mars is about 185000 km from Jupiter center is easily shown to be zero. A point particle on the other side of (slightly egg shaped) Mars net gravity is not zero, thus the difference.
    (One side adds the vectors while the other subtracts them.)

    This causes mass transfer. The primary cause being volcanism triggered by unbalanced pressure. Nothing is holding the magma down anymore.

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