LPL Colloquium: From Pebbles to Planets

Dr. Katherine Kretke, Southwest Research Institute
Tuesday, September 5, 2017 - 3:45pm
Kuiper Space Sciences Building Room 312

In recent years there has been a radical shift in the thinking about small-body and planet formation. Particles with stopping times comparable to their orbital times, often called "pebbles" (although they may range from sub-centimeter to almost meters in size), interact with gaseous protoplanetary disks in very special ways. This allows them to not only directly produce the planetesimal building blocks of planetary systems, but also later to accrete on to these planetesimals, potentially solving long standing mysteries about the Solar System's formation: the low mass and mixed composition of the asteroid belt, Mars's small size, and the very existence of Jupiter and Saturn. In this talk I will review these recent developments and discuss the promises of using pebbles to solve many problems in the formation of our own, and other, planetary systems.