John Bridges, Jamie Gilmour and Ian Sanders consider developments on understanding the role of planetesimal formation in the early solar system, highlighting the work of the late Robert Hutchison.
At the 12 October 2007 RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting, the UK meteorites and planetary science community discussed a range of new and existing ideas about how the earliest planetesimals formed. The meeting was held in honour of the late Dr Robert Hutchison, a meteorite specialist and Gold Medal winner of the RAS. Many of the models that have been used over the past 40 years are based on what we have learnt about asteroids from primitive meteorites. These are believed to be fragments of what were originally small planetary bodies (planetesimals) that failed to aggregate into a large planet between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.