Laboratory Astrophysics with Primitive Extraterrestrial Materials: The Origin and Early Evolution of Our Planetary System
The planets in our Solar System formed from a protoplanetary disk of gas and dust, the solar nebula. Due to billions of years of evolution, the planets themselves do not preserve many signatures of the earliest stages of their formation. However, records of the nebula and of the earliest planetary formation epoch are preserved in asteroids and comets, and samples of these are available for laboratory study in the form of meteorites and interplanetary dust particles, as well as asteroidal and cometary dust returned by spacecraft. Primitive extraterrestrial materials contain pristine samples of the earliest solids that formed the building blocks of the planets including both ‘’presolar’’ materials from prior generations of stars and the interstellar medium as well as early-formed solar nebular dust. Detailed laboratory analyses (e.g., isotopic, elemental and microstructural studies) of these materials provide unique insights into a wide range of astrophysical processes, including stellar nucleosynthesis, galactic chemical evolution, interstellar dust processing and chemistry, and mixing and accretion processes in protoplanetary disks. This talk will review many of these topics with a focus on how meteorites constrain the astrophysical setting for solar system formation, the starting materials of the planets, timescales of planet formation, and the origin and distribution of water and carbon, the essential ingredients for life.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts #224
- Pub Date:
- June 2014