Research on planetary evolution

Planetary evolution, Mars and Mercury

Triboelectric charging of particles in collisions has long been known about, little understood and, on account of the attraction of charged particles, significant in the early stages of planetary evolution. Charging and its effects therefore became a focal point of laboratory and other experiments of the Wurm research group in the drop tower in Bremen. The same topic was also a central issue at the start of an experiment that was conducted in 2018 (and is still ongoing) as part of the Alexander Gerst Mission on the International Space Station. From the charge distribution to aggregation, there are many interesting aspects to be observed in this work.

Other experimental work on planetary evolution is looking at the stability of planetesimals in specially developed parabolic-flight low-pressure wind tunnels and at magnetic aggregation behaviour in the fields of protoplanetary disks, which could explain the special features of the planet Mercury.