ICE directory

Trigo Rodríguez, José María

Josep Maria Trigo
Cientifico Titular CSIC
+34 93 581 4778
Science Building, C5 Tower, UAB Campus

My current research focuses on the formation of primitive solar system minor bodies (comets and asteroids) and the study of their fragments in space (meteoroids) or as surviving rocks arrived to the Earth (meteorites). These bodies can provide important clues on the origin of the terrestrial planets and particularly on the origin of life in Earth. Primitive meteorites and particularly chondrites are known to be retentive of the chemical and isotopic conditions prevailing in the early solar system, most of them have suffered different processes that altered their primeval physical, chemical and isotopic properties.

The study of Interplanetary Dust Particles (IDPs), meteorites and micrometeorites, remote analyses of comets, and determination of dynamic strength from meteor data are other ways to better know the structure of these highly-porous bodies. In addition, laboratory experiments are useful to study their post-accretion properties such as aqueous and thermal modifications that could affect the initial original physical properties of porous bodies of variable dust to ice ratios.

Formation conditions of primitive bodies are particularly important to decipher their capacity to retain water ice and organics from the solar nebula. It seems that the first bodies formed by accretion from the protoplanetary disk had very different physical properties than most of the present solar system minor bodies: asteroids, comets and their 1-meter-size fragments arrived to the Earth. Consequently, my current research deals with critical (and partially unknown) processes, including collisional compaction, aqueous alteration, and irradiative heating of minor bodies. Such physico-chemical processes could lead to the progressive compaction of undifferentiated, initially highly porous primitive bodies.

My studies are trying to constrain and define realistic parameters for solar system formation, from dust accretion to planetesimal formation that will be amenable for investigations in laboratory simulations and modeling studies. I also study bolides and superbolides, especially in the determination of physical properties from the study of the interaction of large meteoroids in the Earth’s atmosphere. I am one of the promoters of the Spanish Meteor and Fireball Network (SPMN) in basis to all-sky CCD and video cameras and other instruments, with the main goal of recovering meteorites. In fact, the SPMN has recovered two meteorites: Villalbeto de la Peña in 2004 and Puerto Lápice in 2007.