Origin of the Moon

Conversation Date: 
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM PT (3:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET)
Origin of the Moon Title Slide

Earth’s Moon is a fascinating and quite unique body in our Solar System. With a mass of order 1% that of the Earth, it holds many mysteries.

How is it that only Earth has a large satellite among the terrestrial planets?

How is it that the Moon’s chemical composition is so close to that of the Earth?

When and how did the Moon form?

Understanding the latter is a fundamental question, answers to which may tell us more about the early times of the Solar System, and also how the planets themselves originated. Dr. Julien Salmon will present details on the leading hypothesis regarding the origin of the Moon, and show results from state-of-the-art computer models that allow us to test this hypothesis.


Julien Salmon, PhD, Research Scientist at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, CO.

Dr. Salmon graduated from the French Ecole des Mines de Saint-Etienne, where he was studying Image Processing, along with other engineering-related topics, such as Energetics, Instrumentation and Solid Mechanics, but also Human and Project Management. Dr. Salmon then started a PhD in Astrophysics at the university Paris 7, where he was working under the supervision of Dr. Andre Brahic and Dr. Sebastien Charnoz. Dr. Salmon designed numerical models and hydrocodes (models of fluid flow) to study the evolution of planetary rings and satellites. He found its main application in the viscous spreading of Saturn’s rings and the formation of satellites by accretion of ring material. Dr. Salmon’s current activities at SwRI include modeling the dynamical evolution of disks around planets and the formation of satellites from accumulation of disk material, in order to further understand the processes of planetary satellites formation, and in particular the Earth’s Moon, and the satellites of Saturn and Mars.

Personal webpage: http://www.boulder.swri.edu/~julien/

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