Ancient Craters Buried by Volcanism Expose Early History of the Moon

Establishing the absolute and relative chronology of ancient lunar events is of fundamental importance to our understanding of early Solar System history and the evolution of rocky planetary bodies. In this endeavor, the Moon has a unique quantitative role, as it is the only planetary body from which absolute and relative ages can be calibrated…

Mercurian Volcanic Plains & Mantle Dynamics

Analyses of Mercury’s surface by the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft have identified a large portion of the surface to be comprised of Mg-rich basaltic and basaltic komatiitic compositional plains, likely of volcanic origin. However, the compositional differences of these ancient volcanic plains cannot be explained via fractional crystallization and require…

GRAIL Reveals Beneath the Lunar Nearside Maria

With gravity data acquired by the dual Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft, in conjunction with altimetry data from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) investigation on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, we investigate buried craters within the lunar nearside maria.  The contrast of low reflectance material of the lunar nearside maria against the high…

Water in the Deep Moon

Until recently, the Moon had been thought to have a relatively low volatile content due to a combination of its low gravity and hot impact origin. Accordingly, past studies to investigate the Moon’s formation and its chemical and thermal evolution have focused on a bulk Moon with minimal volatile content and absent of water. However,…

Erosion on Mars?

Arabia Terra, with an area of approximately 10 million square kilometers centered at (25E, 5N), is an anomalous region along the Martian dichotomy boundary. Traditionally considered part of the ancient southern highlands, Arabia Terra provides a more gradual transition from the southern highlands to the northern lowlands in both topography and crustal thickness. While the…

Early Life on Earth

Attached, laminated, and lithified carbonate rocks that dominated shallow marine environments for the majority of Earth’s history preserve a record of the early Earth environment. While modern stromatolites accrete by sediment trapping and/or in-situ precipitation induced by microbial or algal activity, the processes governing the highly variable macroscopic morphology of stromatolites are not fully understood.…