Meteorites and the Search for Life: The Search for Water From Beyond Earth

Dr Queenie Chan
Image: Dr Chan

The Astronomical Society of Glasgow's first public lecture for the 2019 - 2020 session will be Thursday 19th September, when Dr Queenie Chan, Research Staff, Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, School of Physical Sciences, The Open University, will be presenting "The Search for Water From Beyond Earth"

The lecture programme will start promptly at 7:30pm.

This lecture will take place in Room 6.41, Royal College, Strathclyde University

Over the past decades, we have become increasingly aware of the fundamental importance of water on Solar System bodies – planets, asteroids, comets. We have been studying water on meteorites in laboratories on Earth, as well as rocks sampled during space missions. However, we have only been able to do that indirectly, such as by studying water in hydrated minerals, as meteorites are traditionally thought not to contain any liquid water. Until recent years, liquid water has been found in meteorites as small fluid inclusion, which is more common than we previously thought. In this lecture, we will discuss how meteorites have changed our understanding about the origin of our solar system, and how water and the raw ingredients that we thought are so common to life on Earth could have run the gauntlet of solar system formation, endured the atmospheric entry process and reached the early Earth.


Dr Queenie Chan is an analytical scientist, and a geologist by training. The main goal of her work is to understand the evolution of our Solar System and the organic reservoir. She obtained her bachelor degree in Earth Sciences from the University of Hong Kong and a PhD in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Imperial College London. Following her PhD, Dr. Chan took up a fellowship awarded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science to study meteorites as analogues of the Ryugu asteroid – the target asteroid of the Hayabusa2 mission of JAXA. In 2013, Dr. Chan was awarded a NASA postdoctoral fellowship to work alongside Dr. Michael Zolensky at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC). They showed that two rare water-containing meteorites are hosts to a plethora of organic compounds. Currently, Dr. Chan continues her research career at the Open University working with Prof. Ian Wright to re-evaluate data from the Rosetta space mission.


The lecture will take place in Room 6.41, Royal College, Strathclyde University.  Access is via the Montrose Street entrance, take the lift to Level 3, exit the lift (turning left) and take the 2nd (furthest away) set of steps, and go through the double glass doors.  Room 6.41 is on your left approximately half way along the corridor.