Astrogeology: January 2021

A group of international scientists, including an Australian astrophysicist, has used knowhow from gravitational wave astronomy (used to find black holes in space) to study ancient marine fossils as a predictor of climate change.

Inside one of the containers of this 40-cm-across miniature laboratory in orbit, a battle is set to start between asteroid-like fragments and rock-hungry microbes, to probe their use for space mining in the future.

Curtin University researchers have used ancient crystals from eroded rocks found in stream sediments in Greenland to successfully test the theory that portions of Earth's ancient crust acted as 'seeds' from which later generations of crust grew.

Geochronology, or determination of absolute ages for geologic events, underpins many inquiries into the formation and evolution of planets and our Solar System. Absolute ages of ancient and recent magmatic products provide strong constraints on the dynamics of magma oceans and crustal formation, as well as the longevity and evolution of interior heat engines and distinct mantle/crustal source regions. Absolute dating also relates habitability markers to the timescale of evolution of life on Earth.