Last year, an image was released that took our breath away. Exquisite rings carved in a disk of material around a nearby star. Now, astronomers want to know if forming planets are responsible, and why the image might look different from the cartoon in your textbook.
Planets are ubiquitous in the Milky Way. Therefore, building them must be straightforward, right? Not at all!
How and where did the first organic molecules emerge? Sophisticated chemistry models for the synthesis of amino acids within planetesimals can help us to decipher these mysteries.
Why do some planets slightly more massive than Earth have gas envelopes, while others don’t?
Amino acids were possibly brought to Earth by meteorite impacts, which contaminated the young environment with organic compounds. However, where and how did these most basic ingredients of life form in the first place?
Often science is a competition. Being first is sometimes important to get the well deserved credit for your work. Circumplanetary disks are currently a topic, in which you can still be first, since none has been detected so far. But is the current generation of telescopes already good enough to do that?