Cosmic collisions on the Moon

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Samples of moon rocks and regolith collected during the Apollo Missions as well as the lunar meteorites discovered on Earth allow us to study the origin and geology of the Moon directly. The most striking lunar features, clearly visible in the night sky are the large mare basins that formed when a rogue population of asteroids struck the Moon about 3.9 billion yars ago.

We are using the chemistry of lunar impact melt rocks, in particular the concentrations of the highly siderophile platinum-group elements, to determine the types of asteroids that created these large (300-2500 km diameter) impact basins. This in turn will tell us about the types of planetesimals traversing the inner solar system at that time, and likely hit the Earth as well.

This is largely a laboratory based project (no field work planned right now) and requires a person who wants to learn leading-edge chemical techniques, is a good observer with excellent attention to detail, and thinks big picture. This is just one of many potential projects working on lunar samples.

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Updated:  24 September 2018/Responsible Officer:  RSES Webmaster/Page Contact:  RSES Webmaster