DIX Planetary Science Seminar
To address the fundamental questions of how life on Earth emerged and how common life may be in the Universe, it is crucial to know the chemical composition of the planet-forming material. Planets were originally thought to form in > 1 Myr old protoplanetary disks, but studies of both disks and our Solar System show that planet formation already starts much earlier, in disks that are still embedded in cloud material. These young disks, however, are largely uncharacterized. I will present a number of case studies on the physical and chemical structure of young disks, including the first temperature measurements showing that young disks are too warm for CO ice, unlike protoplanetary disks. In addition, I will highlight how we can probe the chemical complexity in planet-forming material, and discuss how complex organic molecules may help us understand the low carbon content of our own Earth.