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Planetary Science Research

Dr. Paul Thomas currently carries out research projects focused on the study of our solar system. Recent projects include

  • Thermal modeling of the icy crust of Jupiter's satellite Europa, particularly the possibility of "melt-through" zones which might persist for million year periods. This research, done in collaboration with undergraduate student Leon Buck and Dr. Marc Goulet and Dr. Alex Smith of UW-Eau Claire's Mathematics Department, was published in Geophysical Review Letters in 2002. Download pdf article.
  • Modeling of high speed collisions in the solar system using Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) models. Past applications of this technique have included the introduction of organic molecules to the primordial Earth by comet impact, the formation of the giant basins on the Moon. Download a recent pdf article (NCUR 2006).
  • Modeling of hypersonic passage of asteroids and comets through the atmosphere. This work has particularly focused on modeling the 1908 Tunguska explosion.