EPS Colloquium: Gregory Brennecka

Gregory Brennecka, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

All things considered, the Solar System is currently a reasonably stable place. But, this was not always the case. When the Sun and planets were forming, chaos ruled. Throughout the disk, planetary bodies formed, big and small, close to the Sun and very far away, but they did not stay where they formed—because gravity always wins. The rapid growth of gas giants such as Jupiter and Saturn and their gravitational relationship with the Sun tossed smaller, emerging planetary bodies all around the Solar System, jumbling up the original architecture of the disk into, eventually, what we see today. Importantly, if we could understand that original architecture, this would help us learn how planetary bodies form in the first place, and it may even help reveal why our Solar System appears to be special in its ability to harbor life. Luckily for us, there is a repository of this information in the Asteroid Belt, of which we have numerous samples in the form of meteorites. These rocky time capsules record the early history of the Solar System, proximal and distal, and in this talk I will discuss how we investigate different meteoritic bodies to reveal the original structure of our Solar System in an effort I like to call “cosmolocation.”

Host: Kun Wang