Planets, including Earth, are the natural products of star formation. Our research investigates the origin and chemical evolution of the Earth and other planets and planetary systems, their early environments, and the evolution of life. Our goal is to understand the formation of the Solar System and our place in it.
We do field work in ancient rock terranes to learn when and how Earth became habitable and teeming with life. We bring pieces of other planets and extinct stars into our laboratories and look back in time to the dust and gas of the solar nebula. We look deep inside the Earth to see the remnants of processes that occurred billions of years ago, and how they affect us today. We visit other planets remotely to determine why those places are so different from Earth.
The science that we do is interdisciplinary and international in scope, linking RSES with astronomers, biologists, chemists, and physicists around the world. By developing and applying advanced new technologies for laboratory, computational and field-based analysis, we strive to find innovative answers to difficult and exciting questions.
The overarching question for this research theme is: how did the Earth and other planets in our Solar System form and evolve?
- What processes create planets from a solar nebula?
- Why are the surface environments of planets in our Solar System so different?
- What are the relationships between surface geology, geochemistry and the dynamics of the deep interior of the Earth, Moon, and Mars?
- What made the early Earth habitable and how did life get to where it is today?