2002 Annual Science Report

University of Washington Reporting  |  JUL 2001 – JUN 2002

Delivery of Organic Materials to Planets

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

In collaboration with Jonathan Lunine, Quinn and Raymond have performed integrations of planetary embryos as they form the terrestrial planets. This work is following the late stage of planetary formation where lunar size protoplanets grow via collisions to the current terrestrial size planets. Embryos are started in circular orbits throughout the terrestrial and asteroid belt region. Their orbits are then followed as they interact gravitationally and collisionally with each other and the growing gas giants. The preliminary results confirm earlier results showing that the impact of one or two embryos during the formation stage can make the difference between “wet” or “dry” planets. For example, in one calculation a “wet” Earth size object formed at 1 AU, and a “dry” Mars size object formed in the inner asteroid belt. Further work with higher resolution simulations is needed to see whether this result is an artifact of neglecting the effect of smaller bodies. The eventual goal of this project is to explore the effect on the volatile delivery of changing the masses and orbital parameters of the gas giants.

    Thomas Quinn
    Project Investigator

    Jonathan Lunine

    Imelda Kirby
    Graduate Student

    Sean Raymond
    Graduate Student

    Objective 1.0
    Determine whether the atmosphere of the early Earth, hydrothermal systems or exogenous matter were significant sources of organic matter.

    Objective 5.0
    Describe the sequences of causes and effects associated with the development of Earth's early biosphere and the global environment.

    Objective 11.0
    Determine (theoretically and empirically) the ultimate outcome of the planet-forming process around other stars, especially the habitable ones.