Megan's project sought to link the LL Chondrite meteorites with asteroid Itokawa as their potential parent body, i.e. place of origin, which had been proposed numerous times.
Small samples of the asteroid Itokawa have been directly returned to Earth by JAXA's Hayabusa spacecraft. Special access to these samples allowed Megan to directly compare the asteroid itself with various LL Chondrite meteorites within our collections.
Rebecca's project focused on the classification of Nullarbor meteorites from the various Space Rocks expeditions.
These meteorites are largely chondrites, however, there is a great diversity in their type both in composition, shock, and weathering. Rebecca was able to study 20+ new meteorites using non-destructive techniques, aiming to submit them for official classication.
Callum's project investigated the newest group of Martian meteorites, the 'polymict regolith breccias', and how/if they linked to other Martian meteorites.
These breccia meteorites are a good match to the current Mars surface, containing a combination of minerals and rock fragments.
Connor King & Ben Shread-Hewitt
Ben & Connor worked together on a shared research project funded by the Royal Astronomical Society's Paneth Meteorite Trust.
Their project focused on the classification of new meteorites, including materials recovered by the wider Space Rocks team.
Jake’s project involved examining the Shergottite meteorites in an attempt to determine whether the Shergottites (mafic or ultramafic igneous Martian meteorites) all originate from a single source crater.
The new information generated within this project helped to challenge the single source hypothesis (Mojave Crater, Xanthe Terra), suggesting that compositional variability within the meteorites would require multiple source regions to account for all Shergottites.
Sean’s project used data from various spacecraft missions to assess the remaining landing sites still under consideration for the new Mars rovers; both NASA’s Mars 2020 rover and ESA’s ExoMars.
Sean classified examples of 4 different types of Martian meteorites; Naklites, Chassignites, Shergottites and a Basaltic Breccia, and hypothesised that only the Basaltic Breccias could be linked to the proposed landing sites owing to their compositional and textural heterogeneity.
Cat’s project used the Diogenite and Eucrite meteorites, believed to have originated on asteroid 4-Vesta, to study the volcanic history of their parent body.
Cat focused on the crystalline members of the HED clan to determine precise mineralogy and shock features for comparison to the major phases identified on the Vestan surface.
Luke’s project compared the basaltic activity observed on Earth to that found elsewhere in the Solar System to see how volcanoes varied across different rocky bodies.
Basalts from the ocean floor, mid-Atlantic Ridge, Hawaii and Etna were compared to basalts from both Mars and the Moon thanks to both IODP cruise samples & meteorites.
Phil’s project focused on the use of HiRISE data generated by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) to identify new impact craters on the Martian surface.
Phil used GIS techniques to identify then characterise these new craters in terms of morphology; diameter, depth, obliquity, then discuss the relative implications for bolide size and relative age.
Jamie’s project aimed to determine which of the final four candidate landing sites for the NASA Mars 2020 rover was the most suitable, in terms of both engineering constraints for a successful landing and rover operation alongside the geological diversity of the surrounding area for scientific investigation.
Jamie used data from both HiRISE and CRISM data from Mars to map the areas of interest before discussing their scientific viability.
Andy’s project focused on LL chondrite meteorites to determine whether they are a potential compositional match to data obtained from the asteroid Itokawa prior to samples being returned by Hayabusa (JAXA).
Andy used non-destructive microscopy techniques to characterise the meteorites and compared chondrule composition and size diversity.
Jen’s project focused on the use of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) as a non-destructive tool to study the HED suite of meteorites, believed to have originated from the asteroid 4-Vesta in the main asteroid belt.
Jen used meteorite samples to generate new data that could be compared to the DAWN mission data; a satellite sent to investigate the two largest asteroids in the main belt, Vesta & Ceres.