TAIT

Kimberly Tait – 2023 Dorothy Killam Fellow

Describing planetary processes from Mars atom by atom

Royal Ontario Museum (UofT)

Dr. Tait will focus on studying Martian meteorites, using novel techniques to understand how Martian meteorites are put together at the atomic level.

As we prepare for samples from Mars being returned to Earth in the early to mid 2030s, we need to prepare on how to safely handle and study these materials. These samples are being collected from an ancient lakebed, and could have biosignatures and could answer a key question: did life ever exist on Mars? Dr. Tait actively works on the plan for sampling, handling and curation with an international team of experts from NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA).

On Earth, we have some Martian meteorites, or rocks that have been delivered by natural processes through time. Dr. Tait will focus on studying Martian meteorites, using novel techniques to understand how Martian meteorites are put together at the atomic level. Understanding the basic building blocks of Martian rocks, informs our understanding of larger planetary processes that have occurred on Mars throughout geologic time.


Have a listen to this fascinating interview of Kim Tait with CBC’s Ismaila Alfa where we learn more about her research involving rocks, some of them from as far away as Mars.

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