Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs Home ResearchAbout ResearchAbout Us

Kr - Astromaterials Research Office

The staff of the Astromaterials Research Office conducts peer-reviewed research in astromaterials and astrobiology. Scientists are funded through basic science disciplines of the NASA ROSES NRA (viewable from http://nasascience.nasa.gov/planetary-science), including Cosmochemistry, Origins, Exobiology, Planetary Geology, and Planetary Astronomy. Further funding comes from planetary missions, instrument development, and data analysis programs.

The fundamental goals of our research are to understand the origin and evolution of the solar system and the nature and distribution of life in the solar system. Our research involves analysis of, and experiments on, astromaterials in order to understand their nature, sources, and processes of formation. Our state-of-the-art analytical laboratories include four electron microbeam labs for mineral analysis, four spectroscopy labs for chemical and mineralogical analysis, and four mass spectrometry labs for isotopic analysis. Other facilities include the experimental impact laboratory and both one-atmosphere gas mixing and high-pressure experimental petrology labs. Recent research has emphasized a diverse range of topics, including:

- Study of the solar system's primitive materials such as carbonaceous chondrites and interplanetary dust

- Study of early solar system chronology using short-lived radioisotopes

- Study of large-scale planetary differentiation and evolution through study of siderophile and incompatible trace element partitioning, magma ocean crystallization simulations, and isotopic systematics

- Study of the petrogenesis of martian meteorites through petrographic, isotopic, chemical, and experimental melting and crystallization studies

- Interpretation of remote sensing data, especially from current robotic Mars missions, through study of terrestrial analog materials

- Study of the role of biological systems in evolution of astromaterials

- Study of the solar system's primitive materials such as carbonaceous chondrites and interplanetary dust

- Study of early solar system chronology using short-lived radioisotopes

- Study of large-scale planetary differentiation and evolution through study of siderophile and incompatible trace element partitioning, magma ocean crystallization simulations, and isotopic systematics

- Study of the petrogenesis of martian meteorites through petrographic, isotopic, chemical, and experimental melting and crystallization studies

- Interpretation of remote sensing data, especially from current robotic Mars missions, through study of terrestrial analog materials

- Study of the role of biological systems in evolution of astromaterials