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, 7 (1), 66-84

High-resolution Simulations of the Final Assembly of Earth-like Planets. 2. Water Delivery and Planetary Habitability


High-resolution Simulations of the Final Assembly of Earth-like Planets. 2. Water Delivery and Planetary Habitability

Sean N Raymond et al. Astrobiology.


The water content and habitability of terrestrial planets are determined during their final assembly, from perhaps 100 1,000-km "planetary embryos " and a swarm of billions of 1-10-km "planetesimals. " During this process, we assume that water-rich material is accreted by terrestrial planets via impacts of water-rich bodies that originate in the outer asteroid region. We present analysis of water delivery and planetary habitability in five high-resolution simulations containing about 10 times more particles than in previous simulations. These simulations formed 15 terrestrial planets from 0.4 to 2.6 Earth masses, including five planets in the habitable zone. Every planet from each simulation accreted at least the Earth's current water budget; most accreted several times that amount (assuming no impact depletion). Each planet accreted at least five water-rich embryos and planetesimals from the past 2.5 astronomical units; most accreted 10-20 water-rich bodies. We present a new model for water delivery to terrestrial planets in dynamically calm systems, with low-eccentricity or low-mass giant planets-such systems may be very common in the Galaxy. We suggest that water is accreted in comparable amounts from a few planetary embryos in a " hit or miss " way and from millions of planetesimals in a statistically robust process. Variations in water content are likely to be caused by fluctuations in the number of water-rich embryos accreted, as well as from systematic effects, such as planetary mass and location, and giant planet properties.

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