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Raining Rocks: The Endurance of Planetary Atmospheres

Presentation #102.07 in the session Poster Session.

Published onJun 20, 2022
Raining Rocks: The Endurance of Planetary Atmospheres

Impacts and ejections of comets and asteroids due to planet interaction play essential roles in the structure and evolution of planetary systems. They, for example, lead to the formation of Kuiper belts and Oort cloud-like structures, create interstellar comets, and can drastically change the course of life. In particular, the impacts of comets or asteroids onto planets can lead to complete atmospheric loss. I will present a novel analytic formulation for calculating the rates at which minor bodies collide with planets and are ejected into interstellar space. With a suite of detailed N-body simulations, I confirmed the accuracy of our analytic formulation. As a first application, I calculate the collision rates for the planetary systems detected by Kepler and TESS, finding rates from 1e-9 up to 1e-2 comets/year. Then, I estimated the number of comet collisions needed to strip an atmosphere in an exoplanet, testing their endurance. We found Hot-Jupiters experience the highest collision rates, jeopardizing the stability of their atmospheres. Additionally, I will show my recent estimations for the ejection rates and, therefore, the average production of interstellar comets for each system in the Kepler and Tess database. Our simple analytical formulation will provide predictions for atmosphere-loss and interstellar comet creation, thus guiding observational surveys in the search for objects in the interstellar space and planets with a stable atmosphere that can lead to the development of life.

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