Our group seeks to understand the origin of the Solar System in the broader context of the local Galaxy through analyses of extraterrestrial materials (rocks and dust from asteroids and comets, circumstellar and interstellar grains, and samples of the solar wind).

We are a part of the Physics Department and the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, and collaborate closely with the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

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Columbia in St. Louis

I took my three-year-old soon to the St. Louis Science Center today to see the Columbia capsule from Apollo 11, two days prior to the 49th anniversary of Apollo 11’s launch. He asked about why it looked all “burned” and he could tell from my extreme enthusiasm how awesome it was.

2018 LA: Asteroid to Fireball to Meteorite

This is only the second time an asteroid was observed with a telescope before it hit Earth and then was recovered as a meteorite. The other asteroid, 2008 TC3, turned out to be a rare ureilite with some fascinating characteristics.

Underwater Meteorite Search

An ambitious exploration happened today to find meteorites at the bottom of the ocean from a large fireball off the Washington coast. The best view of the fireball was probably from Ocean Shores, a childhood vacation spot for me. The only meteorite from Washington state that was witnessed to fall (called “falls” to distinguish them …