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Carbon as a Mineral Phase in Extraterrestrial Materials, and Some Other Adventures

Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Fries (JPL)

Reduced carbon phases such as macromolecular carbon, aliphatic compounds, lonsdalite and diamond are widely present in extraterrestrial materials such as meteorites, interplanetary dust and cometary material. Each describes a different formation/alteration history for its parent body, and when treated as mineral phases they can be used to describe the chemical and physical conditions that each body has witnessed. This information is a superb compliment to more typical petrographic studies of silicate materials, and to studies of relatively volatile organic compounds. This discussion will describe investigations of carbonaceous phases in a wide variety of extraterrestrial materials and implications on parent body histories. The principal tool used is Raman spectroscopy to include Raman imaging so a description of these techniques will be included.

Other adventures include the use of Doppler weather radar as a new tool for locating meteorite falls. This is work the author has pursued for the past five years, culminating in the dramatic observation of the recent West, TX meteorite fall using three nearby Doppler weather radars. Also, some discussion will be included on the use of Raman imaging as a mineralogy tool for upcoming robotic exploration missions and the future of this technique.

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