The thickened crust scenario is favored by the team's model, according to study co-author Jean-Alix Barrat, of the University of Western Brittany in France. Such a crust would account for the wealth of samples from deep within the crust.
The scientists' model correctly predicted the basic shape of the basins, although some of the details were slightly off. For instance, their model predicted higher elevations in the southwestern region of the asteroid, but such elevations are instead found in the opposite area. Such differences could be explained by slight variations in the angle of impact, according to the team, but should have minimal effect on how material ejected by the impacts was distributed.
The results were published online today (Feb. 13) in the journal Nature.
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