Cosmochemistry deals with the study of extraterrestrial materials. Among the objects studies are meteorites, interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) and cometary dust. Others are moon rocks and particularly if they will become available for laboratory studies rocks from other planetary and asteroidal bodies. Material from planet Mars may already be available in form of "Martian meteorites".




On Mars
(picture taken by rover Spirit, NASA/JPL))



Among the primary aims of cosmochemistry has always been determination of the solar abundances of the elements, and of the chemical properties of elements and chemical compounds in material of overall solar chemical composition. This includes deciphering the mechanisms, by which the numerous types of mineral phases observed in meteorites formed. Among the currently especially hot research topics is the search for and the characterization of surviving presolar matter (stardust) in meteorites.




Presolar SiC grain (S. Merchel)

Scale bar = 1 Micrometer