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Opening a New Window on Our Origins with SOFIA-HIRMES
Wednesday, December 11, 2019 - 9:00am PST
The origins of the elemental carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen that form life can be traced back to a massive reservoir of prestellar ices, which accretes onto planet-forming disks before they take part in the formation of planetesimals and ultimately planetary atmospheres. Their chemical evolution determines the compositions of planets, including those destined to orbit in a habitable zone. HIRMES, the next generation instrument on SOFIA is expected to make fundamental new contributions to our understanding of planet formation and to the origins of water. Designed to uniquely measure water gas and ice in planet-forming disks, and to measure their total gas masses using the unique tracer hydrogen deuteride, HIRMES is poised to form an essential complement to both ALMA and JWST. I will present the HIRMES vision for planet formation, and discuss how HIRMES will fit into a multi-wavelength campaign to understand planet-forming disks.