Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-vl2kb Total loading time: 0.285 Render date: 2021-12-08T18:47:37.280Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

Preface

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 February 2010

Dániel Apai
Affiliation:
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore
Dante S. Lauretta
Affiliation:
University of Arizona
Get access

Summary

Some fundamental questions are surprisingly simple: Where did we come from? Are we alone in the Universe? These two simple questions have been pondered on and debated over by hundreds of generations. Yet, these questions proved to be very difficult to answer. Today, however, they have shifted from the realm of religious and philosophical discussions to the lecture rooms and laboratories of hard sciences: they are, indeed, among the drivers of modern astrophysics and planetary sciences.

Fortunately, and perhaps surprisingly, the Universe provides a means to address these important questions. Today we are witnessing as the answers emerge to these age-old questions. We now know that asteroids and comets of the Solar System have preserved a detailed record of the dramatic events that four billion years ago gave birth to our planetary system in only a few million years. Gravity and radiation pressure conspire to deliver almost pristine samples of the early Solar System to Earth in the form of meteorites and interplanetary dust particles. We have also taken this process one step further with the successful return of particles from the coma of comet Wild 2 by NASA's Stardust mission. Detailed chemical and mineralogical analyses of these materials allow for the reconstruction of the history of our planetary system.

We can address the questions of the ubiquity of planetary systems in our galaxy by comparing the conditions and events of the early Solar System to circumstellar disks in star-forming regions. Technological wonders, such as the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, have allowed direct imaging of disks in which planetary systems are thought to form and enable comparative mineralogy of dust grains hundreds of light years away.

Type
Chapter
Information
Protoplanetary Dust
Astrophysical and Cosmochemical Perspectives
, pp. xv - xvii
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2010

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×