12.472 Building Earth-like Planets: From Nebular Gas to Ocean Worlds

Fall 2008

An artist's rendering of an Earth-Like planet demonstration planetary formation.
Artist's concept of Earth-like planet. (Image courtesy of NASA.)

Course Description

This course covers examination of the state of knowledge of planetary formation, beginning with planetary nebulas and continuing through accretion (from gas, to dust, to planetesimals, to planetary embryos, to planets). It also includes processes of planetary differentiation, crust formation, atmospheric degassing, and surface water condensation. This course has integrated discussions of compositional and physical processes, based upon observations from our solar system and from exoplanets. Focus on terrestrial (rocky and metallic) planets, though more volatile-rich bodies are also examined.
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Prof. Lindy Elkins-Tanton

Course Meeting Times

2 sessions / week
1.5 hours / session