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Old April 26th, 2004, 01:45 AM
Malenfant
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The Earth basically got 'shattered' when the mars-sized protoplanet hit it to form the Moon... and it reformed.

Lobbing Ceres - or any big asteroid - at several thousand km/s at a planet would probably just vaporise or utterly annihilate everything. There wouldn't be any rubble left, given the energies involved.

Like I said, it's not enough to just 'break' the planet - you have to somehow spread the material throughout the entire orbit - which can be a HUGE area of space (the circumference of a 1 AU orbit is nearly a billion km) - and also prevent it from reforming eventually (since the bits will eventually start to collide, which will make bigger bits, which will pull more bits in because they're more massive, which will make bigger bits, etc etc).

Even if you could do that, the crust - which is probably where elements like Tantalum or Lanthanum would be concentrated - is only a tiny portion of the volume of a planet. The chance of you encountering an asteroid that was formerly part of the crust would be extremely low compared to finding one that was once in the mantle or core of the planet.
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