KECK INSTITUTE FOR SPACE STUDIES

       

Valeria Kachmar

Valeria Kachmar

Grad student in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences

Hometown: Saint Petersburg, Russia

Date of this Interview: January 6, 2024


What do you research?

I am intrigued by the life of planetary systems – how do we get from a cloud of gas to so much diversity in planets like in our solar system? In one of my current projects, I am studying alien landscapes on Ceres, looking for remnants of this dwarf planet's water-rich past with implications for water delivery to the Earth. Another intriguing question is: how do planetary systems die? There exists observational evidence for planetary materials in the atmospheres of dead stars, called white dwarfs. Are these remnants of other solar systems? What if a Sun-like star can have several planetary systems during its lifetime? I am looking for these answers in my other project, hoping (deep inside) to shed light on the grand finale of our solar system.

Why does space inspire you?

Because it never runs out of things I find interesting.

If you could instantly travel to any point in the universe, where would you choose to go?

As a start, I would go to Mercury to drill its surface and then to Ceres, also to drill. I have questions about these bodies.

Where can you be found when you’re not conducting research?

I am a homebody so you will probably find me at home. Or on Mercury/Ceres drilling :)

What book do you wish you could read for the first time again?

The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut