Primitive Micrometeorites: Opening a Window into the Early Solar System

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Earth Science and Engineering

Abstract

The goal of this project is to perform the first high-resolution study of the mineralogy and composition of a newly discovered group of extraterrestrial dust particles, known as CU3 micrometeorites, which may be the most primitive asteroidal materials yet identified. Such materials will record the conditions within the solar nebula at 3 AU that, together with studies of Kuiper Belt materials, will provide a snapshot of the mineralogical and chemical variation through the protoplanetary disk around the young Sun. The target micrometeorites (Fig. 1) have already been identified as 'primitive' on the basis of several fundamental criteria (see background) but have, as yet, not been characterised at sufficient resolution to allow comparisons with other asteroidal and Kuiper Belt materials. Support is requested for instrument and staff time to enable a one year pilot study of these potentially very important Solar System materials to address two key STFC strategy questions 'How do planetary systems evolve' and 'How are the chemical elements created'.

Publications

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Genge M. J. (2011) THE ATMOSPHERIC ENTRY OF I-TYPE SPHERULES in METEORITICS & PLANETARY SCIENCE

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Genge M. J. (2010) A PRIMITIVE MICROMETEORITE WITH AFFINITIES TO CV3 CHONDRITE MATRIX in METEORITICS & PLANETARY SCIENCE

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Genge M. J. (2010) ESKOLAITE IN AN ANTARCTIC MICROMETEORITE in METEORITICS & PLANETARY SCIENCE

 
Description Astronomy Society Talks 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I give 2-3 lectures to amateur geology and astronomy groups each year and include my latest research findings.

Resulted in study of several potential meteorites
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008,2009,2010
 
Description Nature Live at the Natural History Museum 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Nature Live is an established series of presentations to members of the public at the Natural History Museum. I provide 2-3 presentations a year and incorporate my latest research findings. The audience comprises visitors to the museum including the public and school groups.

I was invited to give two lectures at amateur geology and astronomy groups through participation in Nature Live.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008,2009,2010,2011,2012
 
Description Rock Library 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact http://www.imperial2.ac.uk/earthscienceandengineering/rocklibrary

The Rock Library is currently discussing sponsorship with industry. The Rock Library resulted in a request for a series of articles for Geology Today published in 2010,11. The Rock Library has 4,200,000 unique users each year (2013) of which 30% use academic networks.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010,2011,2012,2013,2014