Exploring Planetary Formation and Evolution

Planetary Sciences is a blanket term that describes the studies under the envelopes of planetary structure, bulk chemistry, atmospheres, surface geology, and their formation in an astronomical and astrophysical context. Because of this, planetary science is inherently multi-disciplinary, and it is difficult for practitioners with training in one specialty to have either a basic grounding nor an awareness of the exciting forefronts of research in the other facets of planetary science. It is also true that scientists approach the problems from entirely different viewpoints; astrophysicists seldom have the desire to understand the subtle clues encoded in the mineralogical structure of a meteorite, while petrologists are not used to thinking at the energy or size scales of the Sun's turbulent accretion disk.

During this exploratory workshop we explored how the diverse disciplines of astronomy, physics, geology, geophysics, and atmospheric science can overcome their subject-matter boundaries and work in a multi-disciplinary setting to address problems in how planets form and evolve. We also examined (both historically and currently) how the health of planetary science depends on how national funding agencies view the role of science in the context of larger goals (be they space exploration, technological development, national glory, or even scientific drivers). We incorporated national and international expertise from both the United States and France where planetary science communities are better developed and supported than in Canada.