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Large impacts detected by the Apollo seismometers: Impactor mass and source cutoff frequency estimations

Abstract : Meteoroid impacts are important seismic sources on the Moon. As they continuously impact the Moon, they are a significant contribution to the lunar micro-seismic background noise. They also were associated with the most powerful seismic sources recorded by the Apollo seismic network. We study in this paper the largest impacts. We show that their masses can be estimated with a rather simple modeling technique and that high frequency seismic signals have reduced amplitudes due to a relatively low (about 1 s) corner frequency resulting from the duration of the impact process and the crater formation. If synthetic seismograms computed for a spherical model of the Moon are unable to match the waveforms of the observations, they nevertheless provide an approximate measure of the energy of seismic waves in the coda. The latter can then be used for an estimation of the mass of the impactors, when the velocity of the impactor is known. This method, for the artificial impacts of the LM and SIVB Apollo upper stages, allows us to retrieve the mass within 20% of relative error. The estimated mass of the largest impacts observed during the 7 years of activity of the Apollo seismic network provides an explanation for the non-detection of surface waves on the seismograms. The specifications of future Moon seismometers, in order to provide the detection of surface waves, are given in conclusion.
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Submitted on : Friday, March 11, 2022 - 6:13:28 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, March 13, 2022 - 3:25:49 AM

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T. V. Gudkova, Ph. Lognonné, J. Gagnepain-Beyneix. Large impacts detected by the Apollo seismometers: Impactor mass and source cutoff frequency estimations. Icarus, 2011, 211, pp.1049-1065. ⟨10.1016/j.icarus.2010.10.028⟩. ⟨insu-03606498⟩

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