Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics & Astronomy
College Station, Texas 77843
The Milky Way and Andromeda are the two most massive galaxies in our intergalactic neighborhood, the Local Group, but they are far outnumbered by the tens of low-mass satellite galaxies surrounding them. These low-mass galaxies are some of the most dark matter-dominated systems known, making them excellent astrophysical objects for small-scale tests of cosmology. In fact, comparisons between simulations and observations of low-mass galaxies in the Local Group have led to several important cosmological tensions, such as the missing satellites problem. Low-mass galaxies also present a unique opportunity to study how environmental effects shape galaxy evolution because they experience disruptive interactions like ram pressure and tidal forces that dramatically affect their morphology, gas content, and star formation. I will discuss my efforts to understand the evolution of low-mass galaxies using high resolution simulations of the Local Group from the Feedback in Realistic Environments (FIRE) project, including work on the now-resolved missing satellites problem and the rapid environmental quenching of satellite galaxies.