Science and Exploration

Understanding Planet Formation Using Microgravity Experiments

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
February 19, 2023
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Understanding Planet Formation Using Microgravity Experiments
Processes important during evolution from dust to planetary bodies that are accessible to laboratory and microgravity experiments. Evolution proceeds from left to right. Critical barriers in growth are depicted as steps, and mechanisms to conquer them are positioned above. Critical ingredients also include chondrule formation and destructive or morphology- changing processes for planetesimals. — astro-ph.EP

In 2018, images were released of a planet being formed around the star PDS 70, offering a tantalizing glimpse into how planets come into being.

However, many questions remain about how dust evolves into planets, and astrophysical observations are unable to provide all the answers.

It is therefore necessary to perform experiments to reveal key details and, to avoid unwanted effects from the Earth’s gravitational pull, it is often necessary to perform such experiments in microgravity platforms. This Review sketches current models of planet formation and describes the experiments needed to test the models.

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:2302.07156 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2302.07156v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Journal reference: Nature Reviews Physics, 3, 405-421, 2021
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Submission history
From: Gerhard Wurm [view email]
[v1] Tue, 14 Feb 2023 16:06:53 UTC (2,034 KB)

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.