Is this the smartest space mission in the Solar System?

Let’s face it no one has a clue how Phobos formed. One theory says it’s a captured primitive asteroid. Well, it does look like one. Another theory claims it formed after a giant asteroid slammed into Mars. Really, it’s all very confusing. Anyway, JAXA is going to send a mission to clear up the mystery.…

Jupiter – not to blame after all?

It is now generally accepted that, from a geochemical perspective, our Solar System is lumpy. In fact it comes in two very distinct lumps. This was pointed out by Paul Warren in his 2011 paper. He showed that when various isotopes (e.g. 54Cr, 62Ni, 50Ti), measured in a wide range of extraterrestrial materials, are plotted…

Cool rocks from a cool place

I have just been reading Katie Joy’s most recent blog from Antarctica. It’s all good news. The search team have now collected this season’s 82nd meteorite specimen. An awesome achievement considering that this is just the second field season for the UK’s Antarctic meteorite initiative. Last season was really just a reconnaissance trip and even…

Being curious

Let’s face it presolar grains are neat. Tiny particles from stars that lived and died before our Solar System was born. The story of how these mysterious microscopic minerals were first identified, isolated and extracted from meteorites must surely be one of the great scientific detective stories of the late twentieth century. And clearly it…