Science Seminars

5/28/2015 – Reassessing Lunar, Martian, and Solar System History based on In-Situ Radiometric Dating, Chemistry, and Organics analyses using a Laser Ablation Resonance Ionization Mass Spectrometer

Speaker: F. Scott Anderson (SwRI)
Date: Thursday, May 28, 2020
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: SPSC W120

Seminar Abstract:

The geologic history of the Solar System builds on an extensive record of impact flux models, crater counts, and ~270 kg of lunar samples analyzed in terrestrial laboratories. However, estimates of impactor flux may be biased by the fact that most of the dated Apollo samples were only tenuously connected to an assumed geologic context. Moreover, uncertainties in the modeled cratering rates are significant enough to lead to estimated errors for dates on Mars and the Moon of ~1 Ga. Given the great cost of sample return missions, combined with the need to sample multiple terrains on multiple planets, we have developed a prototype instrument that can be used for in situ dating to better constrain the age of planetary samples. This instrument also can measure chemistry and organic signatures.  In this talk, I will describe the science goals, instrument design, lunar and Martian sample measurements, flight requirements, and two recent flight proposals for this technology.