CMS News

Center student receives Graduate Excellence Award

Soumya Ray Graduate Excellence AwardWe are pleased to announce that Ph.D. Candidate Soumya Ray has been granted a Graduate Excellence Award by ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Science.

The college recognizes outstanding graduate students who have been nationally acknowledged through funded fellowships, scholarships, and grants. Eligible students receive funds to advance their research and are recognized at an annual ceremony in the spring.

Congratulations, Soumya!

Meteorite Gallery joins 2019 Blue Star Museum program

The Center's Meteorite Gallery joins more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to military personnel and their families this summer, in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the Department of Defense.
Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The program provides families an opportunity to enjoy the nation's cultural heritage and learn more about their community, especially after a military move. A list of participating museums is available at
“Visiting a museum is a great way to get to know a community—whether it’s in your hometown or a stop on a road trip,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “We appreciate the enthusiasm of museums all across the country who open their doors for military and their families to spend time together and have new arts experiences.”
This year’s Blue Star Museums represent not just fine arts museums, but also science museums, history museums, nature centers, and dozens of children’s museums. Museums are welcome to sign up for Blue Star Museums throughout the summer by emailing
“As many military families spend the summer months moving from one duty station to another, or reconnecting with a parent who has returned from deployment, Blue Star Museums helps service members and their families create memories,” said Blue Star Families Chief Executive Officer Kathy Roth-Douquet. “Blue Star Families has great appreciation for the generosity of the museums across the country who roll out the red carpet for the families who serve alongside their service members. We are thrilled with the continued growth of the program and the unparalleled opportunities it offers.”

Women astronauts? How ridiculous!

In a new article for the ASU Interplanetary Initiative Community in a Box Project, Center Ph.D. Candidate Soumya Ray writes that, "in building off-world communities, diversity and inclusiveness are not optional".

"In writing this article, I was inspired by the question “what would you put in a ‘community-in-a-box’ to kick-start a vibrant, sustainable community in space?” Of course we will need food, oxygen, technology, humans, animals, amongst other things while populating other bodies in space. But we also need to think about the people we enable to go into space as well."

Read the full article, titled "Women astronauts? How ridiculous!", here!

Soumya's research in the Center for Meteorite Studies involves measuring the Fe isotope fractionation in achondrite meteorites, as well as analyzing their Si isotope composition, in the ultra clean Isotope Cosmochemistry and Geochronology Laboratory.  Her Fe isotope work on aubrites, in particular, has provided new insight into the formation of metal nodules in these unique meteorites. 

Soumya was awarded a Summer Exploration Graduate Fellowship in 2018, as well as the highly competitive and prestigious NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship

She recently presented her research at the 50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, held in Houston, Texas.

New OSIRIS-REx Nature publications

Center for Meteorite Studies Assistant Director Dr. Devin Schrader is a co-author on a new paper titled "Evidence for widespread hydrated minerals on asteroid (101955) Bennu", recently released in the journal Nature Astronomy as part of a special collection of OSIRIS-REx publications.

Dr. Devin Schrader at OSIRIS-REx launchDr. Schrader provides sample science support for the asteroid sample return mission; read about Dr. Schrader's research in the Center for Meteorite Studies here, and read the paper here!

Access the complete OSIRIS-REx Nature package here!

Read more about the OSIRIS-REx NASA mission here!

Photo: Dr. Devin Schrader at the launch of the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission. ⓒ ASU/CMS/D. Schrader.

Center Student Receives Dwornik Award

Congratulations to Center Ph.D. Candidate Daniel Dunlap, who was awarded the Dwornik Award at this year's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference!

The Dwornik Award recognizes outstanding student presentations (in both oral and poster categories) at the annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC). The award was endowed in 1991 by Dr. Stephen E. Dwornik, who wished to encourage U.S. students to become involved with NASA and planetary science. The awards are managed and judged by the Planetary Geology Division of the Geological Society of America.

Daniel Dunlap Dwornik

CMS at Lunar & Planetary Science Conference

This March, several members of the Center for Meteorites Studies presented new findings at the 50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC), in Houston, Texas.

The Center's presentations covered a range of topics in meteoritics and cosmochemistry, including water on Mars, carbonaceous chondrites, meteorite petrology, the solar wind, and processes in the early Solar System.

Learn more about current research in the Center here, and read our latest conference abstracts here!

  • Past and present members of the Center for Meteorite Studies meet for the annual reunion lunch during Past and present members of the Center for Meteorite Studies meet for the annual reunion lunch during the 50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, TX. Photo: ASU/CMS.

New paper on Martian meteorites

Center Ph.D. candidate Emilie Dunham is first author on a new paper published in the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science, examining two basaltic Martian meteorites found in Antarctica.

The goals of this study were to determine whether meteorites LAR 12095 and LAR 12240 were part of the same fall, as well as how they formed on Mars. In the paper, Petrology and geochemistry of olivine-phyric shergottites LAR 12095 and LAR 12240: Implications for their petrogenetic history on Mars, Dunham and her co-authors show that the two meteorites did, indeed, fall to Earth together, and that they likely began crystallizing in a low oxygen Martian mantle reservoir, underwent closed system crystallization, and were then trapped in the lower Martian crust before fully solidifying. 

This new research provides valuable insight into magmatic evolution on Mars.

Dunham, E. T., Balta, J. B., Wadhwa, M., Sharp, T. G., and McSween H. Y. Jr. (2019) Petrology and geochemistry of olivine-phyric shergottites LAR 12095 and LAR 12240: Implications for their petrogenetic history on Mars. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 1-25.



Sun Devil Giving Day – March 21

March 21 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 21!
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 21 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.

Allende 50th anniversary

February 8th marks the 50th anniversary of the Allende meteorite fall in Chihuahua, Mexico!

Quite possibly the most studied meteorite of all time (referenced in over 14,000 peer-reviewed scientific papers), Allende is a (CV3) carbonaceous chondrite known for its abundant calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions, which provide information on processes in the Early Solar System.  Allende also contains presolar grains, which predate the formation of the Earth, and even our Sun!

Clarke et al (1971) describes the meteorite fall in detail

"In the early morning of Saturday, 8 February 1969 (between 0105 and 0110 Central Standard Time), a brilliant fireball was observed over much of northern Mexico and adjacent areas of Texas and New Mexico. The most spectacular phenomena were centered around the city of Hidalgo del Parral in the south-central part of the state of Chihuahua. The fireball approached from the south-southwest, and as it neared its terminal point the brilliant light was accompanied by tremendous detonations and a strong air blast. Thousands of individual meteoritic stones rained down over a large area of rural Mexico. One weighing 15 kg fell within four meters of a house in the town of Pueblito de Allende, 35 km east of Parral. This stone was broken up, and pieces taken to the office of the newspaper "El Correo de Parral" the same day; the news of an important meteorite fall was published that evening."

The amount of material and size of the resulting strewnfield made Allende one of the largest recorded stony meteorite fall in history – to date, over 2 t of the Allende meteorite has been collected.

Photo: Allende meteorite drawer, L. Garvie/CMS/ASU.

Shortly after the meteorite fall, a mineral dealer from Mexico, known for bringing many interesting mineral samples to Arizona, arrived at the ASU Center for Meteorite Studies in a pickup truck with many Allende specimens. Soon, two Center graduate students were on their way to Chihuahua where, with the aid of local farmers, they were successful in retrieving some of the abundant Allende pieces.

Fortuitously, the first NASA Apollo sample return mission took place just months after the fall, and spurred the construction of special "clean" laboratories to contain any potential contamination from the lunar samples.  These clean laboratories proved the ideal environment for analyses of the newly fallen Allende meteorite, as they protected the space rocks from terrestrial contamination.

These analyses continue, five decades later, as the Allende meteorite continues to provide key insight into the early Solar System. In fact, for over 30 years, clean Allende powder has been used as a meteorite standard in laboratories around the world:

"At the time our work was undertaken in late 1969 there were several types of geological reference samples available that covered the compositional range of most common terrestrial materials … For meteorites, however, such a reference sample was not available, and terrestrial reference samples were not always suitable for comparison with the analyses of meteorites."

"The Allende, Mexico, meteorite fall … provided a solution to these problems.  The meteorite was a fresh fall available in large quantity.  Early work established that it was a rare Type III carbonaceous chondrite that contained very little metal and was easy to homogenize.  The availability of this meteorite led us to undertake the preparation and distribution of a meteoritic reference sample. An important additional stimulus was the need of the scientific community for a reference material for the analyses of returned lunar samples."

Jarosewich, E., R. S. Clarke, and J. N. Barrows (1987)
Allende Meteorite Reference Sample.
Smithsonian Contributions to the Earth Sciences. 1-49.



Photo: Center graduate student Daniel Dunlap in the Isotope Cosmochemistry and Geochronology Laboratory. Photo by L. Garvie/CMS/ASU.

Visit the ASU Center for Meteorite Studies to learn more about the Allende meteorite, and see pieces of this famous meteorite on display!