Dr. McDonough's Homepage

Our Research into Cosmochemistry

What was the material available at 1 AU from the Sun 4.5 billion years ago? The Earth’s composition provides crucial insights into what was available for accretion to the planet. Cosmochemical studies involve the chemical and isotopic analyses of lunar and meteoritic materials in order to understand their origins, as well as that of their parent bodies. We also analyze products of experimental studies in which analog materials attempt to recreate temperature, pressure and oxygen (or gas) fugacity conditions that might have been involved in metal-silicate, silicate-silicate, or metal-metal differentiation processes. Our goals in all of these studies are to understand the structure, composition and evolution of the terrestrial planets and their moons. By relating insights from meteorites and the Earth we are able to understand better the building blocks of the planets and predict what might be the range of compositions of habitable exo-planets.