New Discoveries Lecture Series

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About the Series

The SESE New Discoveries Lecture Series is designed to bring the exciting scientific work of SESE to the general public in a series of informative and up-to-date evening lectures. Each will be given by a member of the SESE faculty.

Lectures begin at 7:30 p.m. MST and last about an hour. They are free and open to the public.

Exploring the Solar System Through Meteorites

Dr. Meenakshi Wadhwa

October 4, 2018 | Register

About the Speaker:

Dr. Meenakshi Wadhwa is Director of the Center for Meteorite Studies in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. She received her PhD in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Washington University in St. Louis. Her research focuses on the origin and evolution of the Solar System and planets through studies of meteorites, Moon rocks and other extraterrestrial samples returned by spacecraft missions. She has hunted for meteorites in Antarctica with the NASA- and NSF-funded Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) Program, and has also conducted fieldwork in Iceland to collect volcanic materials as analogs of crustal rocks on Mars. She was recently invited to participate as a member of the Initial Sample Analysis Team for the Japanese Space Agency’s Hayabusa2 mission that will be returning samples from the asteroid Ryugu in 2020. Dr. Wadhwa is currently serving as Chair of the Science Committee of the NASA Advisory Council and as Vice President of the Meteoritical Society. Asteroid 8356 has been named 8356 Wadhwa in recognition of her contributions to planetary science.

About the Lecture:

In recent years, the exploration of our Solar System has been greatly enabled by ever more sophisticated robotic spacecraft that have been sent to a variety of destinations such as the Moon, Mars, Mercury, and the outer planets. Only a handful of these destinations have been sampled by humans (like the Apollo missions to the Moon) or robotic missions (like NASA’s Stardust mission to comet Wild 2). Meteorites provide a means of sampling a wide variety of Solar System materials (including from many different asteroids, the Moon, and Mars) with minimal expense. The downsides, however, are the lack of geological context and the fact that residence in the terrestrial environment can alter some of their chemical features. Nevertheless, studies of meteoritic samples have led to some astounding advances in our understanding of how and when the solar system and planets were formed. In this talk, I will discuss some of these advances. I will also discuss some experiments that we recently conducted to better understand how exposure to environmental conditions on the surface of the Earth changes some important chemical characteristics of meteorites.

Where to go

The Marston Exploration Theater is located on the first floor of ASU's Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building IV (ISTB 4), the home of the School of Earth and Space Exploration. ISTB 4 (map) is located near the intersection of Rural and Terrace Road in Tempe on the east side of campus. This seven-story structure is ASU’s largest research facility and is accessible on foot via Orange Street and McAllister Ave. If arriving by Light Rail, exit at the University and Rural Road stop.


Parking is available inside the Rural Road parking structure just east of ISTB 4. From the parking structure, walk west and enter ISTB 4 through the glass doors on the north side of the building. Please note that a parking fee is charged upon exit. There is additional pay parking directly south of ISTB 4 available for $2 / hour. There is an automated payment registration kiosk on the parking lot's west side (the corner near the building).

When to arrive

RSVP links will be provided to register and reserve your seat for each event.  Attendees should arrive no later than 7:15 p.m. to gain entry into the theater. No-show seats will be released on a first come/first serve basis.  


Please contact Stephanee Germaine, SESE Alumni and Events Coordinator at