Image of Kevin McKeegan, UCLA

Public Lecture: Sampling the Solar System: A key in our quest to understand Earth's origin and evolution

Kevin McKeegan, Distinguished Professor of Cosmochemistry and Geochemistry, University of California - Los Angeles

Extraterrestrial samples can be studied in the laboratory in exquisite detail, revealing clues about their origins and, ultimately, about our own planet’s origin and evolution.  We currently have materials from asteroids and comets, Mars (most likely) and Earth (of course), the Moon and even the Sun.  In this talk, a description will be given of some of these exotic materials, how we’ve come to obtain them, and what their analysis tells us about how our planetary system was formed 4.6 billion years ago.  Although much has been learned, important questions remain that can, and must, be addressed by the next decades of planetary exploration.