We now have over a hundred years of study of the minerals that make up our own planet and increasingly can apply and develop that knowledge in the study of Mars. However, there is still much more of the solar system that is unexplored from a mineral perspective. Beyond the asteroid belt silicates become less dominant upon planetary surfaces, and in instead molecular materials dominate and shape these landscapes. From hydrates on the Jovian moons, gas clathrates on Saturn’s moon Titan to the possibility of weather silicates and carbonates in the asteroid belt. These materials generally not have been subjected to a century of mineralogical study and are an exciting frontier for mineral sciences. This session invites contributions from those seeking to apply terrestrial experimental and theoretical study of such materials, to the alien conditions beyond our terrestrial planets.
Australian Nuclear, Science and Technology Organisation
Helen Maynard-Casely is a Planetary Scientist based at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) where she uses the neutrons and synchrotron x-rays to investigate the materials that make up our solar system. She has a PhD in high-pressure physics from the University of Edinburgh and has been lucky enough to have collected data in facilities all over the world, blowing up a few diamonds along the way. Always keen to tell anyone who’ll listen about planetary science, she writes a column ‘The Tides of Venus’ for The Conversation and tweets @Helen_E_MC.
- Dr Helen Brand