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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 CT, FE-SEM, Electron probe, SIMS, micro-XRF, FTIR, to obtain textural, mineralogical and geochemical information of rocks and soils, in order to understand the processes affecting the surface and interior of different planetary bodies. Her research has covered a wide range of topics from lunar soil simulants, physical properties of lunar soil/dust, mantle xenoliths, to petrogenesis of igneous rocks, including those encountered by the Perseverance rover in Jezero crater.
One of her research focuses is surface and interior volatiles. Results aim to answer questions such as: What are the sources of surface and interior volatiles? What is the budget of volatiles on a planetary body? How are they lost from magma? Most recent results include discovery of vapor condensate minerals on lunar volcanic beads, determination of subsurface and magmatic water signatures on Mars using an impact-melt hygrometer, and hydrothermal products in Martian meteorites.
Selected Peer-Reviewed Articles