Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

On the Origins of Our Solar System

31.01.2012
Second funding period for DFG priority programme coordinated by Heidelberg scientists

After positive evaluation by an international team of experts, the Priority Programme (SPP 1385) “The First Ten Million Years of the Solar System” supported by the German Research Council (DFG) has now embarked on its second funding period with twelve new projects on board.

The programme is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Mario Trieloff of Heidelberg University and Prof. Dr. Klaus Mezger of the University of Bern (Switzerland) and at present comprises 45 research projects, ten of them in Heidelberg. The aim of the scientists involved in SPP 1385 is to analyse extraterrestrial material such as meteorites for what it can tell them about the planet formation process taking place 4.5 billion years ago. The DFG is providing approx. EUR 5.5 million for the continuation of the research work, of which EUR 1.2 million has been allocated to Heidelberg.

The goal of the projects in the first funding period was to deepen our understanding of the way planets form. “Planets are the very basis of life as we know it,” says earth scientist Mario Trieloff. “But the formation process involved is still surrounded by many mysteries. For example, from meteorites we are familiar with the first centimetre-sized mineral aggregates in the solar system, but we know very little about how they formed.” In the course of time, dust particles mere micrometres in diameter clump together to form “whoppers” several metres in diameter or even asteroids and comets that can be kilometres in size. But we still do not know whether the time scale involved in their formation was thousands or millions of years. Also unanswered is the question of how the Earth formed out of a number of smaller protoplanets or where the water on Earth came from. According to Prof. Trieloff, major progress towards the solution of these issues has already been made in the first funding period.

The investigations of the priority programme revolve crucially around material from small bodies like asteroids and comets, the point being that they have not evolved to the formation of a large planet but have remained at the level of small planets called planetesimals. “This means that they have preserved the unchanged relics of dust and rock composition on the way to larger planetary bodies,” says Prof. Trieloff. In this connection, the scientists are investigating sample material from meteorites and comets as well as interstellar material from which the first small bodies and planetesimals took shape. Isotopic dating is used to define more closely the span of time in which asteroids hundred of kilometres across achieved their present dimensions. In addition, the scientists are looking into the heating and the chemical and physical development of planetesimals.

For the first two years of the research work being done in the framework of SPP 1385, 36 projects with a funding volume of approx. EUR 4 million were approved. Of these, 33 are to be continued and supplemented by the 12 new projects. According to coordinators Mario Trieloff and Klaus Mezger, the international evaluation panel ranked the priority programme as being on the same level as the thematically similar cosmochemistry programme of NASA. In their evaluation report, they anticipated that the large proportion of young scientists involved would contribute to the development of new approaches that might be pioneering in the international context. The ten Heidelberg projects are conducted at the University’s Institute for Earth Sciences, Centre for Astronomy and Kirchhoff Institute for Physics and the Max Planck Institutes for Astronomy and for Nuclear Physics. The research projects of the entire programme are spread out over 16 locations in Germany plus the Institute of Geological Sciences at the University of Bern.

For more information, go to http://www.rzuser.uni-heidelberg.de/~ia2

Contact
Apl. Prof. Dr. Mario Trieloff
Institute for Earth Sciences
phone: +49 6221 54-6022
mario.trieloff@geow.uni-heidelberg.de

Communications and Marketing
Press Office, phone: +49 6221 54-2311

Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw
Further information:
http://www.rzuser.uni-heidelberg.de/~ia2

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective
14.12.2017 | The Optical Society

nachricht New ultra-thin diamond membrane is a radiobiologist's best friend
14.12.2017 | American Institute of Physics

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests

14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective

14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility

14.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>