Robin Canup

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Robin M. Canup (born November 20, 1968) is an American astrophysicist. She received her B.S. from Duke University and her PhD from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her main area of research concerns the origins of planets and satellites.[1] In 2003, Canup was awarded the Harold C. Urey Prize.[2]

Canup is well known for her research based upon the giant impact hypothesis and has involved intensive modeling testing, simulating how planetary collisions actually unfold.[3][4][5][6] Canup argues that the Moon and the Earth have formed as a part of a massive collision of two planetary bodies, each larger than Mars, which then re-collided to form what we now call Earth. After the re-collision, Earth was surrounded by a disk of material, which combined to form the Moon.[7] She has written a book on the origin of the Earth and Moon.[8] Canup has also published research describing a giant impact origin for Pluto and Charon.[9]

Canup is an accomplished ballet dancer and danced the lead role in Coppélia in the Boulder Ballet one week after finishing her dissertation.[10]


  • Origin of the Earth and Moon. Robin M. Canup, Kevin Righter (eds.) (2nd ed.). Tucson : Houston: University of Arizona Press. 2000-11-01. ISBN 978-0-8165-2073-2.
  • National Research Council (various) (2010). Defending Planet Earth:: Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies. National Academies Press. ISBN 9780309149686. (member of Space Studies board)


  1. ^ University of Boulder Profile,; accessed March 9, 2015.
  2. ^ "Harold C. Urey Prize in Planetary Science". Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Association. Retrieved 2015-01-12.
  3. ^ Canup, Robin M.; Asphaug, Erik (2001-08-16). "Origin of the Moon in a giant impact near the end of the Earth's formation". Nature. 412 (6848): 708–712. doi:10.1038/35089010. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 11507633.
  4. ^ Agnor, Craig B.; Canup, Robin M.; Levison, Harold F. (1999). "On the Character and Consequences of Large Impacts in the Late Stage of Terrestrial Planet Formation". Icarus. 142 (1): 219–237. Bibcode:1999Icar..142..219A. doi:10.1006/icar.1999.6201. ISSN 0019-1035.
  5. ^ Canup, Robin M. (2004). "Simulations of a late lunar-forming impact". Icarus. 168 (2): 433–456. Bibcode:2004Icar..168..433C. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2003.09.028. ISSN 0019-1035.
  6. ^ Canup, Robin M. (2004). "Dynamics of Lunar Formation". Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics. 42 (1): 441–475. Bibcode:2004ARA&A..42..441C. doi:10.1146/annurev.astro.41.082201.113457.
  7. ^ "NASA Lunar Scientists Develop New Theory on Earth and Moon Formation". NASA Press Release. NASA. 2012-10-30. Retrieved 2012-12-05.
  8. ^ Origin of the Earth and Moon. Robin M. Canup, Kevin Righter (eds.) (2nd ed.). Tucson : Houston: University of Arizona Press. 2000-11-01. ISBN 978-0-8165-2073-2.
  9. ^ Canup, Robin M. (2005-01-28). "A Giant Impact Origin of Pluto-Charon". Science. 307 (5709): 546–550. Bibcode:2005Sci...307..546C. doi:10.1126/science.1106818. ISSN 1095-9203. PMID 15681378. Retrieved 2015-10-13.
  10. ^ Finn, Ed (2004-10-29). "Robin Canup". Popular Science. Retrieved 2015-10-13.

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