CMS News

Alumna Dr. Emilie Dunham awarded 51 Pagasi b Fellowship

Dr. Emilie Dunham
Image credit: Heising-Simons Foundation
The Heising-Simons Foundation has announced that ASU Center for Meteorite Studies and School of Earth and Space Exploration alumna Dr. Emilie Dunham has been selected for a 51 Pegasi b Fellowship in planetary astronomy.

Established in 2017 and named for the first exoplanet discovered orbiting a Sun-like star, the 51 Pegasi b Fellowship provides exceptional postdoctoral scientists with the opportunity to conduct theoretical, observational and experimental research in planetary astronomy.

Dr. Dunham is one of 8 fellows selected by the Heising-Simons Foundation for the 2020 51 Pegasi b Fellowship.

Congratulations, Dr. Emilie Dunham!

Read more about Dr. Dunham's fellowship research, here!

Read the full story on ASU Now, here!


Researcher Spotlight: Dr. Amy Jurewicz

Get to know Center researchers with this new periodic feature!

Dr. Amy JurewiczDr. Amy Jurewicz is an Assistant Research Profes­sor in the ASU Center for Meteorite Studies (CMS) and School of Earth and Space Exploration. Her research in the Center is focused on the recovery, analysis, and interpretation of materials from the NASA Genesis mission, which collected solar wind samples for two years prior to a hard landing in Utah upon its return to Earth.

Solar wind samples are a good surrogate for the solar nebula because a preponderance of scientific evidence suggests that the outer layer of the Sun preserves the composition of the early solar nebula.

For most rock-forming elements, the process of solar wind ejection from the Sun does, however, cause significant fractionation of some elements and isotopes. So, Genesis research requires collaboration with solar physicists and, in addition to finding a surrogate for the solar nebula, provides information on solar processes.

CMS: How were you first drawn to meteoritics, cosmochemistry, and NASA?
Jurewicz: My undergraduate degree was a BA in geology (Phi Beta Kappa) from Occidental College, but I took classes at Caltech, a nearby school, where I considered going as a grad student in paleontology under H. Lowenstam. I wasn’t accepted at Caltech for grad school because I managed to graduate Occidental without any chemistry. My graduate work was primarily at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI; Troy, NY), first in structural geology (microstructure) with M. Brian Bayly, and I took classes with W. Means at SUNY Albany. I started chemistry by taking graduate-level physical chemistry. Then, after a short stint elsewhere, I returned to RPI and worked with E. Bruce Watson, doing high-temperature, controlled-atmosphere phase-equilibrium and diffusion experiments for my PhD.

It seemed like every kid of my generation wanted to be an astronaut and developed a fascination with NASA. For me, that seed started watching the Apollo 11 landing, but didn’t develop until after my PhD in high-temperature experimental petrology of earthly basalts and post-doctoral research at the US Air Force Research Laboratory focused on fiber-reinforced ceramic composites. At that point, my husband and I had moved to Houston and I had the choice of being a ceramic engineer for a start-up company vs. being a post-doctoral researcher in the experimental petrology labs at the Johnson Space Center (JSC). The engineering position paid 30% more, but the NASA job was located next to the astronaut’s gym and I got to play with synthetic molten basalts. It was a no-brainer for me to go to NASA.

Dr. Amy Jurewicz
Dr. Amy Jurewicz inside JPL cleanroom, 2001.
I should note that, unlike most academics, in 1995 I took a break from NASA work, becoming an engineer for a company producing diamond-tungsten carbide cutting tools for the oil industry. My husband, the company's director of research, had also moved there from JSC. This joint career move was for the purpose of allowing me to more easily take care of my father, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s. It was only in 1997 (after a year of living at home trying to keep my father safe) that I returned to NASA. I was hired for the Stardust Aerogel Team at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at the recommendation of Gerry Wasserberg, for whom I had done some diffusion work.

CMS: Tell us more about your work on NASA missions.
Jurewicz: There were 3 main missions: Genesis (solar wind sample return), Stardust (comet sample return) and SCIM (Mars dust sample return).

Genesis – Still active and “project scientist”. Unlike most JPL project scientists, I did not work with the administration. Instead, I characterized, purchased and/or fabricated collector materials and interfaced between the Principal Investigator and JPL engineering on some of the projects, such as the collector foil experiment.

Genesis Payload
Genesis payload being tested in the JSC cleanrooms. The stack of plates are arrays of solar-wind collectors (colored hexagons) to be deployed for different solar wind regimes (bulk on top). The gold dish is an electrostatic mirror designed to concentrate solar wind and embed it in the center target.
Stardust – My role on the Aerogel Team was aerogel inspector, which included physically testing the aerogel’s ability to catch particulates using the hypervelocity gun lab at NASA Ames.

SCIM — The mission was proposed several times, but was closest to flying in 2003 when it lost on the second round to the Phoenix Lander, but I would start again in a NY minute. I sequentially filled multiple positions from the project's inception through its many iterations, including JPL’s SCIM Project Scientist, Co-Investigator (2003), and lead on the dust collector (DUCE). The most fun was arcjet testing aerogel at Ames to study the thermal stability of aerogel during the aeropass, and participating in the design, testing, and fabrication of the aerogel collector modules to ensure that the martian dust SCIM collected would be suitable for scientific study.

CMS: You’re very active in both your research and public outreach; tell us why you love what you do.
Jurewicz: I am simply fascinated by the workings of the natural world. It doesn’t matter if it is the way a defect moves through a crystal or how the Sun makes (and ejects) solar wind. I am addicted to looking at data and seeing trends that explain processes, especially how materials are made and subsequently change.

I love telling people about meteorites and what they mean as bits of returned sample. I love pallasites and metallic meteorites because I can tell the unsuspecting that they are snapshots into the interior of a solar system body that might have been trying to form a planet. Then I tell them that the Sun is 99% of the solar system, that we can use it as a “fossil” of the solar nebula, and then hand them a piece of the Allende meteorite and tell them that they are, in essence, holding a piece of the Sun. How can you have more fun than that?

Read more about Dr. Jurewicz’s research, here!

In 2011, Dr. Jurewicz was listed as one of the 51+ Women in Planetary Science – read her interview, here!

Recent publications:

Jurewicz A. J. G., Rieck K. D., Hervig R., Burnett D. S., Wadhwa M., Olinger C. T., Wiens R. C., Laming J. M., Guan Y., Huss G. R., Reisenfeld D. B., and Williams P. (2020) Magnesium isotopes of the bulk solar wind from Genesis diamond-like carbon films. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 1-25.

Burnett D. S., Jurewicz A. J. G., and Woolum D. S. (2019) The future of Genesis Science. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 54(5): 1092-1114.

Huss G. R., Koeman-Shields E., Jurewicz A. J. G., Burnett D. S., Nagashima K., Ogliore R., and Olinger C. T. (2019) Hydrogen fluence in Genesis collectors: Implications for acceleration of solar wind and for solar metallicity. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 1-26.



Postponed: Sun Devil Giving Day

March 19 is Sun Devil Giving Day – 24 hours to show the world what you can accomplish when you join forces to support Arizona State University!
This day of giving is a way for you to support the Center for Meteorite Studies (CMS). Every dollar counts, and your gift helps support our pursuit of new knowledge about the origin of our Solar System through the study of meteorites and other planetary materials in a variety of ways, including ­ research initiatives, conservation and growth of the Center's meteorite collection, and educational activities.
You can choose to support the Center by visiting the CMS giving page anytime on March 19!
Check out real-time fundraising totals and your chances to double your investment on the Sun Devil Giving Day website!
You can get ready for Sun Devil Giving Day today:
  • Follow the Center for Meteorite Studies and ASU Foundation on Facebook and Twitter for the latest Sun Devil Giving Day announcements and contest information.
  • Tell your friends about Sun Devil Giving Day so they can be a part of the celebration.
Sun Devil Giving DayIndividually, each of us is part of ASU’s rich tradition of giving.  Collectively, we are changing the world and expanding our universe.
Join us on March 19 as we show the world what the Sun Devil Nation can do when we give together!
All funds will be deposited with the ASU Foundation for A New American University, a non-profit organization that exists to support Arizona State University (ASU). Gifts in support of ASU are subject to foundation policies and fees. Your gift may be considered a charitable contribution. Please consult your tax advisor regarding the deductibility of charitable contributions.

Center researcher classifies new meteorite

Center for Meteorite Studies Collection Manager Dr. Laurence Garvie recently classified a new meteorite.

Zhob is an ordinary (H3-4) chondrite, that fell the evening of January 9, 2020, near Baluchistan, Pakistan.

According to the Meteoritical Bulletin (MB 109):
A bright fireball followed by sonic booms was seen and heard around the northern part of the Baluchistan province of Pakistan, approximately 6:30 pm local time on 9 January 2020. Shortly thereafter, a stone fell through a house in a local village of the Mando Khel tribal area ~12 km NE of Zhob, Zhob District, Baluchistan province, Pakistan. The largest stone was found shortly after the fall by goat herders. Two more stones were subsequently found in this area.
To date, four fusion-crusted stones have been found: 6.309, ~5.5, 4.924, and 2.231 kg. The stones are blocky to rounded, with broad shallow regmaglypts, and covered with black matte fusion crust. The 6.309 kg stone is broken, exposing ~15 × 9 cm of the interior, which displays a breccia of rounded to sub-rounded, light-colored clasts in a light-gray matrix. The clasts range from 1 cm to 5 × 4 cm. The stone is easy to break and weakly consolidated. The measured density of a 24 g fragment that contains both the lithologies is 3.18 g/cm3.
The exposed surface of the 6.309 kg stone has an earthy luster, with scattered small (<1 mm) chondrules and rare troilite fragments to 4 mm. No shock veins are visible.
Zhob meteorite
Photo by Laurence Garvie/CMS/ASU.

Center researcher on Prescott fireball

Meteorite Collection Manager Dr. Laurence Garvie was recently featured on ABC 15 news, providing subject matter expertise on a fireball observed north of Prescott, Arizona, February 16th.

Over 65 witnesses to the event have logged details on the American Meteor Society website, and the Yavapai Sheriff's Office received reports from several local residents who heard a loud boom at the time.


Nininger Meteorite Award application deadline extended to April 3

The application deadline for the 2019 Nininger Meteorite Award has been extended to April 3rd!
H. H. Nininger
H.H. Nininger (Photo copyright 1972, Paul S. Eriksson, Inc.)
The Nininger Meteorite Award recognizes outstanding student achievement in the meteoritical sciences as embodied by an original research paper. Papers must cover original research conducted by the student and must have been written, submitted, or published between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019.
The 2019 Nininger Meteorite Award application deadline is midnight (MST) April 3, 2020. Applicants must be the first, but not sole, author of the paper and must be studying at an educational institution in the United States.
The Nininger Meteorite Award recipient receives $1,000 and an engraved plaque commemorating the honor.

New paper on acapulcoite-lodranite meteorite group

Center Assistant Research Scientist Dr. Jemma Davidson and Center Interim Director Dr. Devin Schrader are co-authors of a new paper on the origins of the acapulcoite-lodranite family.

As defined by the Meteoritical Society, these equigranular primitive achondrites show subchondritic compositions, with mineral assemblages similar to, but distinct from, ordinary chondrites. Acapulcoites are finer grained than lodranites and some rare members contain relict chondrules. Based on their bulk composition and broadly chondritic mineralogy, acapulcoite-lodranite likely formed as the result of partial melting of a chondritic precursor.

The meteorite described in the paper, GRV 020043, contains more chondrules than any other acapulcoite-lodranite, and is the least heated member of the acapulcoite-lodranite family studied to date. The authors, therefore, infer that GRV 020043 may, in fact, represent the chondritic precursor to the acapulcoite-lodranite group and, thus, provide invaluable insight into this unique meteorite group.

The paper, “Grove Mountains (GRV) 020043: Insights into acapulcoite-lodranite genesis from the most primitive member”, is published in the journal Geochemistry, and available to read, free of charge until January 11, 2020.

Lodran meteoritePhoto: Lodran meteorite; copyright ASU/CMS.

McCoy T. J., Corrigan C. M., Dickinson T. L., Benedix G. K., Schrader D. L., and Davidson J. (2019) Grove Mountains (GRV) 020043: Insights into Acapulcoite-Lodranite genesis from the most primitive member.  Geochemistry 79: 125536.


2020 Nininger Student Travel Award application open

The Center for Meteorite Studies at Arizona State University is pleased to announce the application opportunity for the 2020 Nininger Student Travel Award for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing research in meteoritics and planetary sciences.

The Nininger Student Travel Award supports travel to the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) of up to 4 School of Earth & Space Exploration undergraduate and graduate students to present their latest results.

For details on the award and application process, click here!

Apply for Nininger Meteorite Award

The Center for Meteorite Studies at Arizona State University is accepting applications for the 2019 Nininger Meteorite Award for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing research in meteoritical sciences until April 3!
The Nininger Meteorite Award recognizes outstanding student achievement in the meteoritical sciences as embodied by an original research paper.  Papers must cover original research conducted by the student and must have been written, submitted, or published between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019.
The 2019 Nininger Meteorite Award application deadline is April 3, 2020.  Applicants must be the first, but not sole, author of the paper and must have been studying at an educational institution in the United States at the time the paper was written, submitted, or published.
The Nininger Meteorite Award recipient receives $1,000 and an engraved plaque commemorating the honor.

Center receives Martian gift

What's better than a Martian meteorite?  Two Martian meteorites!
The Center for Meteorite Studies was recently gifted two pieces of the meteorite popularly known as Black Beauty (NWA 7034 and NWA 10922), which is a type of rock from Mars described as a polymict breccia
According to the Meteoritical Bulletin (MB 105) description of NWA 10922:
The stone appears to have been sitting in the desert soil only half exposed for a relatively long time, as one side appeared smoothed and shiny, with a sand-blasted, black exterior, while the other side was covered with light-yellow caliche. Upon removal of the caliche with diluted glacial acetic acid, a preserved, brown colored, glassy, flow-lined, fusion crust was revealed.
NWA 10922
These two pieces, NWA 7034 (77.1 g, left) and NWA 10922 (67.2 g, right) are the generous gifts of Jay Piatek. Photo: ASU/CMS.
Black Beauty is a polymict breccia containing a diverse assemblage of igneous and "sedimentary" materials. The meteorite records a complicated history of volcanic processes, low-temperature alteration, and impact processing on Mars.
The bulk chemical composition of NWA 7034 closely matches that of the Martian crust as measured by NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers and Mars Odyssey Orbiter. It also contains more water (approximately 0.6 wt%) than any other known Martian meteorite.
This video was made from CT scans of a slice (45 mm x 55 mm x 4 mm) of the NWA 7034 (AKA “Black Beauty”) Martian meteorite from the ASU Center for Meteorite Studies collection. The CT imaging of this meteorite slice was performed at the American Museum of Natural History, New York.