Keeping science accessible. Researching how minerals can be used to solve problems like climate change, pollution, and disease. @ NHMLA, USC, NASA-JPL
Apatite, Natural History Museum of Los Angele, photo by Stan Celestian.

Rare earth elements (REEs) are a group of similar chemical elements that have become an important research area in the mineral and materials sciences communities due to their potential use in energy generation and storage, for a greener Earth. The element neodymium (Nd) makes very powerful magnets, lanthanum (La) and…

and what it could tell us planetary processes in our solar system

Looking deep into Earth, Mars, and Moon. The types of minerals we might find on Mars, Ceres, and icy moons could give us clues about their past and current geological processes. Minerals are often used as a way of reconstructing past environments, because they can change depending on how the environment changes, including what life had done. And when the environment changes, the minerals are usually the only things robust enough to record what had happened. However, in order for geologists to be able to interpret the past events on places other than Earth, we need to know the geological conditions that led to mineral formation under a huge range of conditions. Image

When you squeeze something, it should get smaller — that’s just common sense. You squeeze a sponge to make it smaller, so that water gets pushed out. But why doesn’t the water compress along with the sponge as you squeeze it? Why doesn’t the water stay in the sponge, but…

Nearly a mile underground in the Northeast part of England, there are crystals and life, so that’s where I went.

Steel beams support the mine walls along a salt road 1.1 km below the surface of the Earth.

I was part of a NASA Jet Propulsion Lab team to go deep underground in search of bacteria, and if found, determine if they are alive or dead. If they…

A museum mineral collection is a vast repository of Earth and planetary materials. It is a resource for researchers looking to gain access to the rarest minerals and gems, and those that are looking for intricate details in species variation. Some researchers need access to common minerals, but don’t have…

Toxic and radioactive metals left over from the nuclear fuel cycle are of primary concern to the health of humans and the environment. Why? Because as the uranium from the reactor core ‘burns’, it decays to other elements, and leaving a pile of toxic material. Most of these remaining elements…

Aaron Celestian, Ph.D.

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