Safronov's (1972) demonstration that relative velocities of planetesimals would be comparable to the dominant size bodies' escape velocities, combined with a plausible size distribution that has most mass in the largest bodies, yielded his evolution model with limited growth of the largest planetesimal with respect to its next largest neighbors. A numerical simulation of planetesimal accretion (Greenberg et al., 1978) suggests that at least over one stage of collisional accretion, velocities were much lower than the escape velocity of the largest bodies, because the bulk of the mass still resided in km-scale bodies. The low velocities at this early stage may conceivably have permitted early runaway growth, which, in turn, would have kept the velocities low and permitted continued runaway growth of the largest bodies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)