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Dr. Liu's research focuses on the investigation of extraterrestrial rocks and soils, returned by planetary sample return missions or by nature. She uses microbeam methods including FE-SEM, Electron probe, SIMS to obtain mineralogical and geochemical information of rocks and soils, in order to understand the processes affecting the surface and interior of different planetary bodies.
One direction of her research focuses on volatiles, from those on the surface to the interior. Results aim to answer questions such as: What are the sources of surface volatiles observed on airless terrestrial bodies? What is the budget of volatiles on a planetary body? How do they affect magma properties and thus volcanic eruptions?
The second direction focuses on the study of water on Mars. Her research group is developing an impact-melt hygrometer for subsurface and magmatic water on Mars through analytical and experimental approaches. In addition, she and collaborators found first occurrences of unusual minerals in NWA 7034/7533 that record hydrothermal and metamorphic events.
Selected Peer-Reviewed Articles