What will we learn in 2022?

Rudolph has been and gone, the new year is in by one rotation, and resolutions have been made (… and many possibly already broken). My own resolution is small: to try and post here more regularly – to share with the world what I’ve been up to in something other than the knotted sheen of journal articles.

First off, a headline and a recap of last years hightlights: 2021 was infinitely better than 2020. Globally, certainly, but also in the microcosmos of science that was the 3rd year of my PhD. A lot went right (at last) and (as a sign of that) you can now read about my efforts in a few publications. I’m aiming to post a few general interest summaries of the topics I’ve been working on here across the year. So, stay tuned for some pretty pictures of meteorites under the microscope, musings on the origin of life, and updates on my long-standing love affair with phosphorus: one of the key limiting nutrients for life on Earth.

What’s a year to a rock? Not much!

Now, a nod to the future: what will we learn in 2022, scientifically? James Webb is finally afloat in the void, so we can begin to look forward to insights about the atmospheric composition and possible habitability (and maybe even inhabited-ness) of Earth-like exoplanets. That will be simply electric. There are several other space science missions in action that should get exciting. The debate about phosphine on Venus as an indicator of life, and possible niches of habitability in the atmosphere of this otherwise hellish world, will continue to heat up.

On my own horizon is an ongoing attempt to quantify the availability of phosphorus (P) to early life on Earth, and on other similar worlds, by understanding the distribution and weathering of P-bearing minerals in rocks that make up Earth’s crust. Cosmic dust and meteorites feature in the tantalising middle-distance. Oh, and Goldschmidt this year is in Hawaii. Here’s hoping the PhD budget stretches a little further…

I look forward to it all – and to posting about it here, if I can remember!!

C

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