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Star Dust

Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 11:30am - 12:30pm

Dr. Katherine Bermingham, Earth & Planetary Sciences, Rutgers

The solar system formed from a mixture of stardust and gas originating from different stellar sources. Determining how these building blocks combined to form a solar system with a life-bearing planet is an active area of research. Large-scale questions about our origins can be advanced by combining state-of-the-art high precision isotopic data from space and Earth samples with principles of geochemistry and numerical modelling of solar system and Earth evolution. An example, as meteorites are samples of the protoplanetary disk from which the planets formed, they provide the most direct access to the planets’ building blocks. In recent years, it has been found that meteorites possess small variations which can identify stellar building blocks of the solar system and Earth. By contrasting the composition of meteorites with Earth materials, constraints can be placed on the identity of the solar system and Earth’s precursors. This information is required to develop realistic models of planetary formation. An overview of this and other research paths that can be investigated by studying meteorites and stardust will be canvassed during this week’s colloquium!

Image Credit: NASA