Geologist-astronaut Harrison H. (“Jack”) Schmitt working next to the Station 6 boulder during the third Apollo 17 extravehicular activity (EVA) at the Taurus-Littrow landing site on the Moon. Photo by fellow astronaut Eugene A. Cernan, commander. NASA Photo AS17-140-21493 and 21497.

Welcome to the Planetary Materials Research Group website!

The planetary materials research group conducts research focused on planetary surfaces and interiors, specifically the Moon and Mars. Our group is primarily interested in the materials that make up their surfaces and interiors, and the insight they provide about the planet’s history.

Recent Publications

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Determining the age of Vaughan crater, a potential source crater for lunar meteorites, using boulder size-frequency distributions

Mistick, K. A., R. N. Watkins, B. L. Jolliff, R. R. Ghent, R. L. Korotev, R. A. Zeigler (2022) Icarus 376, 114888

Vaughan is a very young, rocky, lunar crater located in the northern South Pole-Aitken basin. Boulder size-frequency distributions indicate an age < 25 Myr. Imagery-based rock abundance is consistent with thermophysically derived data. Compositional similarities suggest Vaughan as a potential lunar meteorite source crater in South Pole-Aitken basin.

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Science and Exploration of the Moon, Overview

Jolliff, B. L. (2021) in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Planetary Science. Oxford University Press.

The author had much fun writing this article for ORE. So much good work has been done and continues to be done to explore the Moon and continue to build on the wealth of sample and remote sensing exploration as well as the exploration of the Apollo astronauts.  Stay tuned for much more in the coming years!

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Ages of lunar impact breccias: limits for timing of the Imbrium impact

Nemchin, A. A., T. Long, B. L. Jolliff, Y. Wan, J. F. Snape, R. A. Zeigler, M. L. Grange, D. Liu, M. J. Whitehouse, N. E. Timms, F. Jourdan (2020) Geochemistry. 125683.

In this paper, we make the case for the U-Pb zircon age of 3922 ± 12 Ma for the formation of the Imbrium basin on the basis of samples from multiple landing sites. This paper features our collaborative work with good friend and colleague Dunyi Liu in the Beijing SHRIMP Lab (refer to Liu et al., 2012, EPSL 319-320).

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Lunar secondary craters and estimated ejecta block sizes reveal a scale‐dependent fragmentation trend

Singer, K. N., B. L. Jolliff, W. B. McKinnon (2020) J. Geophys. Res., Planets 125, e2019JE006313.

I am so happy to see this paper published. Kelsi did this work while a postdoc with our group. She got sidetracked with a little project called New Horizons, but stuck with this manuscript to publication. Congrats, Kelsi, this is a super paper!

Current Research Projects

Plagioclase Analysis Using Photometry

Analysis of Lunar Meteorites

ANGSA: Chemistry of the Apollo 17 Drive Tube 73002