Primitive materials are those least modified by the processes by which the initial solar nebula evolved into the present solar system. As surviving remnants of
the nebula, they include chondritic meteorites, cosmic and interplanetary dust particles, and cometary material sampled both in Earth's stratosphere and by the
Stardust sample return mission. These materials are studied in state-of-the-art analytical laboratories using Mass Spectrometry and a range of electron- and
Messenger Research Group
The Messenger Research Group
studies the isotopic and chemical compositions of primitive
astromaterials, including comet samples returned by the Stardust spacecraft, interplanetary dust particles, presolar grains, primitive meteorites,
and lunar samples.
Keller Research Group
The Keller Research Group
studies the mineralogy and chemistry of presolar and early solar system
materials preserved in cometary particles and contemporary comet and interstellar samples that were collected and returned to Earth by the Stardust
Simon Research Group
The Simon Research Group
measures a wide variety of elements and their isotopes to understand the
origin of our solar system, the processes that transformed nebular dust and gas into the building blocks of planets, and planet formation.