Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Probing the history of matter in deep time

Project description

Elemental makeup of ancient meteorites sheds light on Solar System formation

Ancient meteorites dating 4.6 billion years ago contain a record of the early history of the Solar System, including material that formed before the birth of our Sun. The EU-funded DEEPTIME project aims to provide insights into the timescales and processes associated with the formation of the Solar System. This will be achieved by studying ancient extra-terrestrial matter, including presolar grains, using a multidisciplinary approach that combines absolute ages, isotopic and trace element compositions as well as atomic and structural analysis of meteorites and their components. These data will be used to understand how material parental to our Solar System amalgamated to form the various types of planets in our Solar System and how rocky words developed into planets that can host life.


The solar system represents the archetype for the formation of rocky planets and habitable worlds. A full understanding of its formation and earliest evolution is thus one of the most fundamental goals in natural sciences. The only tangible record of the formative stages of the solar system comes from ancient meteorites and their components some of which date back to the to the birth of our Sun. The main objective of this proposal is to investigate the timescales and processes leading to the formation of the solar system, including the delivery of volatile elements to the accretion regions of rocky planets, by combining absolute ages, isotopic and trace element compositions as well as atomic and structural analysis of meteorites and their components. We identify nucleosynthetic fingerprinting as a tool allowing us to probe the history of solids parental to our solar system across cosmic times, namely from their parent stars in the Galaxy through their modification and incorporation into disk objects, including asteroidal bodies and planets. Our data will be obtained using state-of-the-art instruments including mass-spectrometers (MC-ICPMS, TIMS, SIMS), atom probe and transmission electron microscopy. These data will allow us to: (1) provide formation timescales for presolar grains and their parent stars as well as understand how these grains may control the solar system’s nucleosynthetic variability, (2) track the formation timescales of disk reservoirs and the mass fluxes between and within these regions (3) better our understanding of the timing and flux of volatile elements to the inner protoplanetary disk as well as the timescales and mechanism of primordial crust formation in rocky planets. The novel questions outlined in this proposal, including high-risk high-gain ventures, can only now be tackled using pioneering methods and approaches developed by the PI’s group and collaborators. Thus, we are in a unique position to make step-change discoveries.



Net EU contribution
€ 2 495 496,00
Norregade 10
1165 Kobenhavn

See on map

Danmark Hovedstaden Byen København
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (1)