Stochasticity during formation and the variety in exoplanet compositions suggest that the majority of rocky exoplanets are covered in global water layers – ocean worlds. In this project we demonstrate that variations in short-lived radionuclides in planetary systems – such as 26Al in the early Solar system – can prohibit this fate. By dehydrating water-rich planetesimals via outgassing, short-lived radionuclides desiccate forming terrestrial worlds and can generate planetary systems with balanced volatile abundances. [Lichtenberg, Golabek, Burn, Meyer, Alibert, Gerya, Mordasini / in revision]
I am a postdoctoral fellow at the department of Atmospheric, Oceanic & Planetary Physics at the University of Oxford. I study critical aspects of terrestrial planet formation & evolution, which cross the boundaries of astro- and geophysics. In order to embed the birth and life cycle of rocky planets into an integrated picture, I employ theoretical and numerical techniques to quantify and predict major physical and chemical controls of their accretion and evolution. With my research I aim to enhance our understanding how Earth-like and potentially life-bearing worlds evolve and how they are distributed within the universe. Please find an introduction to some of my latest projects below.