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Understanding the messages from space recorded in the noble gases to understand the formation of the solar system

English title Understanding the messages from space recorded in the noble gases to understand the formation of the solar system
Applicant Busemann Henner
Number 182649
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Geochemie und Petrologie ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Geochemistry
Start/End 01.11.2018 - 31.10.2022
Approved amount 450'000.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Geochemistry
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Sciences

Keywords (8)

Meteorites; Noble Gases; Formation of the Solar System; Interplanetary Dust Particles; Asteroidal Parent Body Processes; Mars; Moon; Comets

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Unser Sonnensystem wurde vor 4.5 Milliarden Jahren gebildet. Die Vorgänge bei der Bildung und die Prozesse, die zu der jetzigen Form geführt haben, werden mit grossem Aufwand erforscht: Viele Raumsonden und das zur Erde bringen und Untersuchen von extraterrestrischen Proben von Mond-, Asteroiden- und Kometenmaterial haben zu grossem Erkenntnisgewinn geführt. Reichlich vorhandene Meteorite erweitern dieses Programm, und erlauben Untersuchungen, die mit den sehr seltenen zurückgebrachten Proben unmöglich wären. Trotz allem Aufwand sind noch viele Fragen nur lückenhaft beantwortet. Ein verbessertes Verständnis unseres eigenen Sonnensystems erlaubt es auch, die seit einigen Jahren in grosser Zahl entdeckten Sternsysteme mit Exoplaneten besser zu verstehen.
Lay summary
Unser Ziel ist es, zur Schliessung einiger Lücken beizutragen. Unser Werkzeug ist die Massenspektrometrie der flüchtigsten Elemente, der Edelgase. Zu untersuchende Proben umfassen, Mond-, Mars- und andere Meteorite, und Staub, der von Kometen und Asteroiden stammt. Ziele sind, mögliche Verbindungen von Kometen zur irdischen Atmosphäre im Labor zu untersuchen, Ursprungsregionen und die Zahl der Auswurfereignisse von Marsmeteoriten einzugrenzen, neue Trägerphasen von Edelgasen in Meteoriten zu erforschen, den Einfluss von Wasser und Wärme auf den Meteoritenmutterkörpern zu bestimmen, und dazu beizutragen, die zeitliche Abfolge von Prozessen auf Asteroiden und die Bildung der ältesten Materialien in unserem Sonnensystem besser zu verstehen. 
Die Erforschung des Weltraums ist begleitet vom grossen Interesse der Allgemeinheit. Die mit grossen Kosten verbundenen Missionen, die Proben von Kometen oder Asteroiden auf die Erde gebracht haben oder in wenigen Jahren bringen werden, werden nur durch Laboruntersuchungen auf dem neuesten Stand der Technik sinnvoll. Unser Projekte ermöglichen die Weiterentwicklung dieser Methoden, die dann auch der Erforschung irdischer Fragen zu Gute kommen.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 03.12.2018

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
163098 From the interstellar medium to the present day solar system - Noble gases in extraterrestrial matter as unique process tracers 01.11.2015 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

1. Summary of the research plan “Understanding the messages from space recorded in the noble gases to understand the formation of the solar system”The research in this proposal contributes to one major scientific question: How did the solar system form? This simple question covers a huge time span and a large space: from the beginning, 4.56 billion years ago, to the most recent impacts of meteorites, such as the 2013 fall in Chelyabinsk (Russia); from our closest neighbour and companion, the moon, to the interstellar medium, through which the solar system travels, and in which it formed. The method used here is to study solar system materials: organic matter that formed in the presolar cloud and asteroidal rocks, grains that formed during nuclear processes in ancient stars, long before the solar system, and isotopes that formed in meteorites, just before they fall to Earth; from terrestrial rocks that incorporated volatiles from Earth’s interior to dust collected by spacecraft on asteroids and comets or by airplanes in the atmosphere. The tool used here is the examination of noble gases. As these are chemically inert, they uniquely monitor processes that created and modified the solar system and planets. Noble gases are rare in most rocks, thus even minute changes to the noble gas composition can easily be detected. Here we use this tool to better characterise the material that comets delivered to Earth, asteroidal processes, the surface on Mars, and how planets form and incorporate volatile elements.We request funding for a project period of four years. This request is divided into four parts and includes support for our PhD students (A) Patrizia Will and (B) Daniela Weimer. We request salaries to allow them to finish their doctoral theses within four years of research, funding for (C) a new PhD student project and (D) for a two years postdoctoral research project:Project A covers remaining tasks and will focus mainly on her comet dust study. We plan to (i)examine comet Wild 2 dust returned with NASA’s “Stardust” mission. This will help to verify the possible link between cometary volatiles and the origin of the terrestrial atmosphere. (ii)examine unbrecciated lunar mare basalts. These showed -unexpectedly- the heterogeneous presence of volatiles that might come from the lunar mantle, and could represent the long sought-after primordially trapped noble gases.Project B covers remaining tasks and will mainly focus on the completion of two already initiated studies and one new study. Here, we aim to better understand (i)processing of matter on the CM chondrite parent body, particularly aqueous alteration effects.(ii)the origin of Martian meteorites, their impact history, transport to Earth, and the number of surface areas sampled.(iii)the water-solubility of gas-carrying minerals in primitive meteorites and the presence of isotopically anomalous nucleosynthetic noble gas components in acid-solubles based on the example CR chondrite MIL 090657.Project C covers the new PhD student’s tasks and will mainly focus on(i)the chronology of important but not well constrained parent body processing on the enstatite chondrite parent body.(ii)the search for evidence of a regolith origin of the Almahata Sitta meteorite, which would explain its composition.(iii)the origin of the noble-gas bearing enstatite chondritic chondrules and their differences to all other chondrules.Project D covers the new Postdoctoral researcher’s tasks and will mainly focus on(i)the extraction, examination and understanding of carbonaceous amorphous phases found in primitive chondrites(ii)the fate of the primitive meteoritic noble gases and their carriers during differentiation and core formation of asteroids, by studying graphitic, siliceous and other inclusions in iron-rich meteorites.
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