Postdoctoral Fellow - Dept. of Earth & Planetary Sciences (Stewart Lab)
The nature of icy-rocky minor bodies is one of the central themes in planetary science. Investigation of primitive bodies addresses questions about the initial stages, conditions, and processes during solar system formation, and the sources of organic and volatile material to the planets. With the on-going development of observing techniques and instruments, there are several potential analogs to our own diverse population of minor bodies littering other circum-stellar systems. These serve as signposts for early formation, or late evolution, of potentially habitable environments. In my talk I will introduce the volatile-rich population of small solar system bodies, namely comets and trans-Neptunian objects, and present several evolution modeling approaches. The results of these modeling efforts refer to the thermal, physical and chemical evolution of the bulk body, its surface composition, and dynamical effects of orbital variation and mutual collisions. I will conclude with potential integration of the described research with recent and on-going space missions, as well as with the emerging discipline of astrobiology.