LPSC 2019

We have returned from the 50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference! It was a great conference, highlights include a screening of the Apollo 11 movie (it was spectacular), major announcements, meeting up with old friends, lots of fantastic science talks (it’s hard to pick a favorite but this is certainly a contender), and many discussions about future science projects. It’s good to be back in St. Louis though, and back to teaching!

New NASA Grant: I-Xe Dating

Olga Pravdivtseva was awarded a NASA grant to use the iodine-xenon radiometric chronometer to investigate the formation and alteration of components in the CK and CV carbonaceous chondrites. Olga is one of the world’s experts in this technique which provides us with exquisite time resolution to understand processes in the early Solar System. With these measurements, it is possible to constrain the timing of events that happened four billion years ago to +/-100,00 years. This is equivalent to remembering the time at which something that happened a year ago to within 15 minutes!



ALMA images of protoplanetary disks

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) released amazing images of twenty protoplanetary disks in the early stages (first few million years) of planet formation from the Disk Substructures at High Angular Resolution Project (DSHARP).

Our group studies these processes in our own Solar System using rocks that were around then.

Super High-Resolution Meteorite Images

I’ve added a page that will feature some ~billion-pixel images of meteorites I’ve taken with electron and optical microscopes using this or this technique. The first one is a classic: Renazzo, the type sample of the CR chondrites. Renazzo fell in Italy in 1824 with a total mass of 1 kg. Check it out!


The Draconid meteor shower peaks tonight as the Earth sweeps through primordial dust spewed from comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. Ernst Zinner was a pioneering researcher in the study of presolar grains, a brilliant scientist and wonderful man who spent most of his career in our lab here at Wash U. Comet 21P is named for Ernst Zinner, but a different Ernst Zinner, a German astronomer, who made the second observation of 21P in 1913. Clearly this is a charmed name for space science!