Every planetary system forms in a thin disk of gas and dust orbiting a
young star. Small dust grains, a micron or two in size, collide and
merge into large aggregates that settle into the midplane of the disk.
In the midplane, aggregates grow into planetesimals with diameters of
roughly 1 km. Collisions between planetesimals produce planets. SSP
scientists use theoretical calculations to understand how dust grains
evolve and how planetesimals become planets.
Numerical simulations of planet formation
Origins of Life Initiative