University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Friday, May 4th 2018
Speaker: Dr. Silvia Protopapa, U. Maryland
Subject: Probing the Formation and Evolution of the Solar System Through Compositional Analysis

Over the past decade, the synergy of ground- and space-based observations, modeling efforts, and laboratory studies has highlighted vital information on the composition of solar system bodies. I will discuss some of the latest results from New Horizons at Pluto and contrast them with emerging trends seen in other trans-Neptunian objects and comets – the primitive remnants of the planetesimal disk from which the outer planets formed. I will demonstrate how characterizing the composition of these objects, which requires performing laboratory measurements and applying advanced modeling techniques to interpret state-of-the-art ground- and space-based observational data, improves our understanding of the primordial solar nebula and the accretion processes that led to the formation of the planets. I will also outline future work and perspectives in light of recent results.

Faculty Host: Charles E. Woodward

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