Planet Formation Projects

Development of an Elemental Micro-Mapping Instrument Concept

Wednesday, November 05 2014 - 9:29 pm, PST
A proof-of-concept X-ray µ-Mapping Spectrometer was assembled with commercial components. The system is considered to be ~TRL 2.

Support for the CheMin mineralogical instrument during the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL'11) mission: Experiment planning, data analysis and mission operations

Wednesday, November 05 2014 - 9:23 pm, PST
This proposal is to support Dr. Philippe Sarrazin’s activities as Co-I of the CheMin mineralogical instrument that is part of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover Curiosity, during its one Mars year mission on the Mars surface. Dr. Sarrazin was a named Co-I on the original CheMin instrument proposal submitted to the MSL mission announcement of opportunity and his inclusion was validated at that time by Dr. Michael Meyer, Mars Program Scientist at NASA Headquarters. In the interval between CheMin’s selection as an MSL payload element and the launch of the MSL (Phases A-D of the instrument project), Dr. Sarrazin was supported through contracts administered directly from the Mars Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. During Phase E of the instrument project (Mission Operations), Dr. Sarrazin’s activities will be supported through the Coop agreement described herein, administered through Ames Research Center. The duties and obligations of CheMin Co-I’s are delineated in the CheMin Experiment Operations Plan (JPL D-36918) “CheMin EOP” or “EOP” and publications listed therein. Funding for Dr. Sarrazin for the duration of Phase E, which is detailed in the CheMin EOP, has been validated by the Mars Program Office and by Dr. Michael Meyer, Mars Program Scientist at NASA Headquarters.

Hybrid powder / single-crystal X-ray diffraction instrument for planetary mineralogical analysis of unprepared samples

Wednesday, November 05 2014 - 9:18 pm, PST
We are developing a new type of X-ray diffraction (XRD) / X-ray fluorescence (XRF) planetary instrument based on a hybrid concept that allows performing both powder XRD and single crystal XRD. The main benefit of this hybrid concept is the possibility to analyze minerals with limited or no sample preparation.

Methane Migration on a Uranus-class planet: symmetric or seasonal?

Tuesday, November 04 2014 - 10:55 am, PST
Methane Migration on a Uranus-class planet

Modeling the Diversity of Protoplanetary Disks

Monday, November 03 2014 - 7:26 pm, PST
We propose a multiwavelength analysis of gaseous protoplanetary disks by modeling archival Spitzer, ISO and Herschel infrared line emission data using our gas disk thermo-chemical models. We will use archival infrared, optical, UV and X-ray data, supplemented with ground-based observational data from literature for a sample of 12 disks spanning a range of stellar masses, disk conditions and evolutionary epochs.

COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH: Understanding Protoplanetary Disk Winds and Planet Interactions via Disk Emission Lines

Monday, November 03 2014 - 7:15 pm, PST
This collaborative research proposal will use an integrated approach that combines theory and observations to systematically study disk winds, evolution, and dispersal. We will analyze a unique dataset of high resolution optical and mid-infrared spectra for a sample of 55 disks around low and intermediate-mass stars at different stages of evolution. We will model the observed line emission fluxes and profiles using state-of-the-art thermochemical and 2-D hydrodynamical models for a sub-sample of disks, selected to represent various evolutionary epochs, to understand photoevaporative flows and to estimate resulting mass loss rates. Using hydrodynamical models to study the impact of planetary torques on disk structure, and thermochemical models to predict observable diagnostics, our study will distinguish rim emission due to photoevaporation from that due to planet-induced gaps and holes. This study will reveal the structure of the inner disk, calculate accretion rates, and probe emission characteristics when gas accretes past a planet. We will further seek new emission line diagnostics of photoevaporative winds and planet-disk interactions and make predictions for future observations using ALMA and other high resolution, high sensitivity facilities.

Disk Evolution, Dispersal and Planet Formation

Monday, November 03 2014 - 4:02 pm, PST
We propose theoretical investigations of protoplanetary disk evolution and dispersal to study how the spatial and temporal distribution of gas and solids in disks affect their planet-forming potential. We will determine the properties of disks and host stars that are most favorable to the formation of planetary systems by conducting a parameter survey using our theoretical models. These will include stellar mass, stellar X-ray and UV luminosities, level of ionization in the disk, disk initial angular momentum, gas to dust mass ratio and dust physical and chemical properties.