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Applicant -- Thermally driven physical weathering and metamorphism on rocky and icy airless bodies

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A myriad of weathering and metamorphism processes play a role in the
evolution of airless bodies, and different processes dominate under
different conditions and on individual surfaces. While there is an
extensive literature on topics such as impact gardening and space
weathering, little work has been done to understand the contribution that
thermally driven processes make to surface modification. Due to their
temperature dependence, these processes are highly unique and vary with an
object¹s composition and orbital properties, and characterizing them has
important implications for understanding surface properties, interpreting
remote sensing data, and designing spacecraft landing and sampling
systems. I will discuss recent modeling efforts to quantify thermally
induced fracture propagation and breakdown at grain, boulder, and
landscape scales on rocky (e.g., lunar, asteroid) and icy (e.g., Ceres,
67P/C-G) surfaces. I will also discuss modeling and experimental efforts
to quantify ice sintering rates on comets and icy satellites (e.g.,
Europa, Enceladus), implications for the microstructural evolution of
their icy regolith, and the interaction between sintering, fracturing, and
other surface processes.

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