The early instability scenario: Mars’ mass explained by Jupiter’s orbitOPEN ACCESS 

Matthew S. Clement, Nathan A. Kaib, Sean N. Raymond, John E. Chambers


In Press, Journal Pre-proof, Available online 13 June 2021



• Present a large suite of controlled early instability evolutions that model the effects of the Nice Model instability on the forming terrestrial planets.
• Derive terrestrial disk initial conditions from high resolution simulations of planetesimal accretion. Validate these initial conditions within the early instability framework.
• Demonstrate the tendency of these updated disks to yield final accretion events (Moon-forming impact) on Earth involving roughly equal-mass target and projectile bodies.
• Test istances where Jupiter and Saturn begin in both the 3:2 and 2:1 mean motion resonances. Resonant perturbations from Jupiter in these 2:1 models markedly improve the likelihood of systems finishing with an appropriate analog of the planet Mercury.”

“The formation of the solar system’s giant planets predated the ultimate epoch of massive impacts that concluded the process of terrestrial planet formation. Following their formation, the giant planets’ orbits evolved through an episode of dynamical instability. Several qualities of the solar system have recently been interpreted as evidence of this event transpiring within the first 100 Myr after the Sun’s birth; around the same time as the final assembly of the inner planets. In a series of recent papers we argued that such an early instability could resolve several problems revealed in classic numerical studies of terrestrial planet formation; namely the small masses of Mars and the asteroid belt. In this paper, we revisit the early instability scenario with a large suite of simulations specifically designed to understand the degree to which Earth and Mars’ formation are sensitive to the specific evolution of Jupiter and Saturn’s orbits. By deriving our initial terrestrial disks directly from recent high-resolution simulations of planetesimal accretion, our results largely confirm our previous findings regarding the instability’s efficiency of truncating the terrestrial disk outside of the Earth-forming region in simulations that best replicate the outer solar system. Moreover, our work validates the primordial 2:1 Jupiter-Saturn resonance within the early instability framework as a viable evolutionary path for the solar system. While our simulations elucidate the fragility of the terrestrial system during the epoch of giant planet migration, many realizations yield outstanding solar system analogs when scrutinized against a number of observational constraints. Finally, we highlight the inability of models to form adequate Mercury-analogs and the low eccentricities of Earth and Venus as the most significant outstanding problems for future numerical studies to resolve.”