Rotational Dynamics Across the Solar System: From the Moon to Arrokoth

James Keane, California Institute of Technology

The spins of planets, moons, and small bodies are not constant with time; they change in response to both external and internal forces on a variety of spatial and temporal scales. These changes can have important consequences for the geology of planetary bodies, including stirring up core dynamos, generating tectonic stresses, and altering the stability of water and other volatiles species across the surface. In this talk, Keane will share several key results from his investigation of rotational dynamics across the solar system, including: impact-induced wobbling of the Moon, reorientation of dwarf planets, and the formation of bilobate Kuiper Belt objects. These studies are enabled by a combination of classical analytical methods, cutting-edge numerical simulations, and spacecraft observations. Keane will touch on implications for planetary formation and evolution, analogous studies of other rocky and icy worlds, and prospects for future robotic exploration.