- © 2011 by the Mineralogical Society of America
Cosmochemistry is the study of extraterrestrial materials aimed at understanding the nature of Solar System bodies, including the planets, their natural satellites, and small bodies. An important goal is to increase our understanding of the chemical origin of the Solar System and the processes by which its planets and small bodies have evolved to their present states. Research in cosmochemistry covers an enormous range of disciplines and techniques, including mineralogy, petrology, major and trace element chemistry, isotope compositions, radiometric ages, magnetism, and radiation-exposure effects. These studies provide a wealth of data about the processes of stellar evolution, planetary-system formation, alteration in asteroidal and cometary interiors, and the accretion history of the Earth, including the origin of Earth's volatile and organic materials.