Scaling contact thickness by 100 seems heavy handed to me. Generally, you want the smallest contact stiffness that gives reasonable contact behavior (no excessive penetration and no pass-through). Overly stiff contact will often create an unstable solution, or if element erosion is allowed, premature erosion of elements and an unrealistic failure pattern. Looks like you have a nearly perfect circular hole in the target not much bigger than the sphere, which may be an artifact of overly stiff contact.
Compare contact force time histories (via rcforc data) when comparing MORTAR to non-MORTAR. If you write that rcforc data at high resolution so as to get smooth curves, you can integrate the force vs. time curves to get impulse, that is, change in momentum of the sphere.
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