Transforming Dust to Planets

Francis Nimmo (Lead / Corresponding author), Katherine Kretke, Shigeru Ida, Soko Matsumura, Thorsten Kleine

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
157 Downloads (Pure)


We review recent progress in understanding how nebular dust and gas are converted into the planets of the present-day solar system, focusing particularly on the “Grand Tack” and pebble accretion scenarios. The Grand Tack can explain the observed division of the solar system into two different isotopic “flavours”, which are found in both differentiated and undifferentiated meteorites. The isotopic chronology inferred for the development of these two “flavours” is consistent with expectations of gas-giant growth and nebular gas loss timescales. The Grand Tack naturally makes a small Mars and a depleted, dynamically-excited and compositionally mixed asteroid belt (as observed); it builds both Mars and the Earth rapidly, which is consistent with the isotopically-inferred growth timescale of the former, but not the latter. Pebble accretion can explain the rapid required growth of Jupiter and Saturn, and the number of Kuiper Belt binaries, but requires specific assumptions to explain the relatively protracted growth timescale of Earth. Pure pebble accretion cannot explain the mixing observed in the asteroid belt, the fast proto-Earth spin rate, or the tilt of Uranus. No current observation requires pebble accretion to have operated in the inner solar system, but the thermal and compositional consequences of pebble accretion have yet to be explored in detail.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number5
Early online date9 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


  • Accretion
  • Isotope cosmochemistry
  • Orbital migration
  • Planetary interiors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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