Title: Staring at the Solar System through a Microscope
Lecturer: Dr. Elena Dobrica; University of Hawai’i
For decades, the study of chondritic meteorites has been driven by a perpetual quest to identify and understand the most pristine materials formed in the early Solar System. The goal of this presentation is to discuss the physicochemical conditions of these materials and their evolution within the protoplanetary disk and later on the chondrite parent bodies. Following asteroidal accretion, multiple secondary processes come into play, such as thermal- and shock-induced metamorphism, metasomatism, and aqueous alteration, which modify these pristine components of chondrites. These processes begin to occur even at very low degrees of secondary alteration. Therefore, understanding these secondary processes will help us to determine the characteristics of the earliest Solar System materials. Today, electron microscopy is one of the primary nanoscience tools, allowing us to carry out various observations that transform electron microscopy into a versatile micro- and nanoscale laboratory to obtain fundamental insight into nucleation, growth, and evolution of returned samples, meteorites, and dust particles.