Atmospheric Breakup of a Small Comet in the Earth's Atmosphere
Abstract
The aerodynamic stresses can lead to the deformation and even to destruction of the meteoroids during their flight through the atmosphere. The pressure at the blunt nose of the cosmic body moving at very high speed through the dense layers of the atmosphere may be much larger than the tensile or the compressive strength of the body. So the usage of the hydrodynamics theory is validated. The estimates show that the transverse velocity of the substance of the body U is of the order of (rho_{a}/rho_{o})^{1/2}V where V is the velocity of the body and rho_{o} is its density, rho_{a} is the density of the atmosphere. The separation of the fragments is larger than the diameter of the body D if D is less than D_{c} = 2H(square root of rho_{a}/rho_{o}), where H is the characteristic scale of the atmosphere. For an icy body one obtains U = 1/30(V) and critical diameter D_{C} = 500 m. The process of the disintegration of the body is still not fully understood and so one can use the numerical simulation to investigate it. Such simulations where conducted for the Venusian atmosphere and the gaseous equation of state of the body was used. For the Earth atmosphere for the velocity V = 50 km/s the pressure at the blunt nose of the body is 25 kbar, and is of the order of bulk modulus of compressibility of the water or ice. The realistic EOS of water in tabular form was used. It was assumed that the initial shape of the body was spherical and the initial diameter D_{o} of the body is 200 m and so it is smaller than the critical diameter D_{C}. The initial kinetic energy of the icy body is equivalent to the energy of the explosion 1200 Mt of TNT. The results of the simulation of the deformation of the body during its vertical flight through the atmosphere and during its impact into the ocean are presented.
 Publication:

Lunar and Planetary Science Conference
 Pub Date:
 March 1993
 Bibcode:
 1993LPI....24.1417T
 Keywords:

 Blunt Bodies;
 Cometary Atmospheres;
 Deformation;
 Earth Atmosphere;
 Hydrodynamics;
 Simulation;
 Equations Of State;
 Kinetic Energy;
 Venus Atmosphere;
 Vertical Flight;
 Astrophysics