Jolliff’s research focus includes the petrologic and geochemical study of element distribution in rocks and minerals as recorders of igneous processes and petrogenetic history, with particular emphasis on lunar samples, martian materials, and terrestrial analogs. Jolliff uses the crystal chemistry and trace-element geochemistry of silicate and accessory minerals in igneous systems to understand their petrogenesis, including igneous, metamorphic, and impact processes on terrestrial planets and their evolution through time.
In September 1969, Washington University in St. Louis scientists were among the first to receive samples collected from the historic Apollo 11 moon mission. At this year’s Lunar and Planetary Science Convention, a student, a faculty member and an alum remind us of the value of these samples and share cutting edge research on decades-old rocks.
Humans have already learned much from the very first moon samples collected by the Apollo program astronauts. As NASA plans for its next manned mission by 2024, a leading lunar expert shares his science priorities for the return: “We need to learn how to live and work off Earth and beyond the low Earth orbit.”
Together, the six Apollo landings laid the foundation for modern planetary science, says Brad Jolliff, the Scott Rudolph Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences in Arts & Sciences. Today’s research continues to provide a gateway to the solar system. Read the full piece by Jolliff and his colleague Mark Robinson, professor at Arizona State University and principal investigator of the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, in Physics Today.
The Moon was never a fully homogenized body like Earth, analysis of Moon rocks made by the Chinese rover, Yutu, suggests. The basalts the rover examined are a new type, chemically different from those retrieved by the Apollo and Luna missions 40 years ago.