Jolliff is focused on the study of minerals and rocks of the Earth, the moon, Mars and meteorites, and what they reveal about conditions of formation and planetary processes over the past 4.5 billion years. His research includes sample analysis, surface science and remote sensing, as well as laboratory studies.
As a member of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera science team, he investigates the surface of the moon, relating what can be seen from orbit to what is known about the moon through the study of lunar meteorites and Apollo samples. Investigations relating to Mars include study of the geologic materials analyzed with rovers, martian meteorites, and terrestrial analogs. These studies seek to understand the mineralogic, petrologic and geochemical relationships and the formation conditions of planetary materials.
Dust-related electrochemistry can reshape Martian surface materials with physical and chemical changes observable after only hundreds of years. Similar electrical effects may be instrumental on Venus and Europa, according to new work from Alian Wang in Arts & Sciences.
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.