2004 Annual Science Report
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Reporting | JUL 2003 – JUN 2004
Development of Simulation Methods for Particle Evolution and Motions
Co-Is Mundy and Richardson hired a new postdoctoral fellow (Graeme Lufkin) for a two-year term, renewable for a third year, to work on numerical simulations of planet formation and the delivery of organics to the terrestrial region. Graeme is graduating this summer from the University of Washington (UW) with a Ph.D. in physics. His thesis research was done in conjunction with the N-Body Shop in the Astronomy Department at UW and focused on large-scale code development and simulations of giant planet formation and migration. Graeme is also interested in the stability of planetary systems. These areas are interrelated and play a key role in determining the delivery path of icy bodies in the outer solar system to the inner regions. With Graeme we will develop simulation methods capable of modeling the evolution of bodies from the size of planets down to dust particles and for tracking particle motions over large distances. A fundamental unsolved problem in planet formation related to this project is the growth mechanism for dust particles embedded in gas that may be turbulent. Improved understanding of the dynamics in this early phase of planet formation will assist in the interpretation of current and future high-resolution observations of extrasolar dust disks in the sub-millimeter and infrared.