Minor icy bodies (origin and evolution) and cosmic dust

Lead Research Organisation: University of Kent
Department Name: Sch of Physical Sciences

Abstract

The Centre for Astrophysics \& Planetary Science requests long-term funding to support a successful established programme of research into the origins of the solar system, stars and stellar systems. We wish to explore novel physical concepts and develop fresh ideas associated with specific physical processes, configurations and components. One of the most crucial questions in Astrophysics remaining to be answered is: how do stars form? Even with modern CCDs, our classical optical telescopes are of limited use since even red light cannot penetrate out of star forming regions. Furthermore, our classical theory has stumbled and failed as we realise that star forming regions are ephemeral clouds. In recent years, we have found observational and theoretical techniques to overcome these problems and together make progress. At least we can now answer the question: how do we know a star is forming? Thus, infrared astronomy and numerical simulations have provided a new means to uncover and explain the physics of star formation. UK astrophysicists are now at the forefront with superb observing programmes and facilities, as well as advanced numerical methods and computing infrastructure. The Kent researchers aim to remain at the forefront through an integrated programme of infrared observations, three dimensional numerical simulations and advanced theoretical modelling, all aimed at exploring the physics governing the rapid evolution of protostars and the clouds which contain them. Through direct predictions and exploitation, the rolling grant will support the UK investment in space and ground-based projects. This physics of transient objects involves hypervelocity flows in diverse contexts. However, even once evolved into the solar system, hypervelocity continues to play a prominent role. Kent offers the opportunity to explore impacts at speeds far in excess of one kilometre per second, crucial to many topics in space science and exploration. The evolution and survival of objects against such impacts is a major topic in Solar System evolution (e.g. cratering, catastrophic disruption etc.). In addition, small particles captured by space missions in hypervelocity impacts are a rich source of information about the Solar System.

Publications

10 25 50

publication icon
Bland Phil A. (2007) A comet in the lab in ASTRONOMY & GEOPHYSICS

publication icon
Bowden S (2009) Survival of organic compounds in ejecta from hypervelocity impacts on ice in International Journal of Astrobiology

publication icon
BRIDGES J (2010) Iron oxides in comet 81P/Wild 2 in Meteoritics and Planetary Science

publication icon
Burchell M (2010) The SMART-1 lunar impact in Icarus

publication icon
Burchell M (2009) Short-period Jupiter family comets after Stardust in Planetary and Space Science

publication icon
Burchell M. J. (2010) The Results of a Recent Survey on Research and Teaching in Astrobiology in the UK in ORIGINS OF LIFE AND EVOLUTION OF BIOSPHERES

 
Description Solar system Ices 
Organisation University of Warsaw
Department Space Science
Country Poland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provided experimental data
Collaborator Contribution Provided models for our analysis
Impact Several papers and conference talks
 
Description Solar system organics 
Organisation University of Aberdeen
Department Geochemistry Laboratory
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provided experimental samples
Collaborator Contribution Data analysis using chemical means
Impact Several papers and conference talks
 
Description Space Debris/Cosmic Dust Flux 
Organisation National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Department Orbital Debris Office
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Experimental data, input into design of detectors. data analysis
Collaborator Contribution Via provision of apparatus
Impact One or two papers, conference talks, and improved designs for new dust detectors
 
Description Stardust analysis 
Organisation University of Washington
Department Earth and Space Sciences
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution There are over 100 collaboraotors so can't be named individually.
Collaborator Contribution Provided samples of dusty collected in space and many labs to share data analysis with
Impact Many papers have been published, see list of publications.
 
Description BBC Horizon 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I was filmed for BBC Horizon about life in extreme environments. I had about 5 minutes on the broadcast programme whcih has been shown several times in the UK and abroad

People abroad tell me they saw me on the tv
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006
 
Description International Year of Astronomy 2009 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Talk on life in space to about 60+ members of the public in an open lecture at the University of Kent

None
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description Museum talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact About 20 - 30 parens and children attended

Not known
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description School visit, many 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact TYpically 30 - 60 students attend a talk by myself.

Not known
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006,2007,2008,2009,2010
 
Description Space School 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact There are typically 2 residential weekends each summer, attended by about 25 13 - 17 years olds each weekend.

Not known
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006,2007,2008,2009,2010
 
Description Talk to astronomical society 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Talk to about 100+ people at Cambridge Astronomy Society at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge

None
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007
 
Description Talk to astronomical society 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact About 40 - 50 members of the South East Kent Astronomy Society attended

Not known
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010