I found a squirrel holding an acorn on the Moon today. Isn’t it cute?
In reality, the ‘squirrel’ is a grain of iron-nickel (Fe-Ni) alloy in a lunar sample. I am using the electron microprobe to determine the composition of the metal grains in several rocks to figure out what the magnetic carrier minerals are. There are several different Fe-Ni alloys which can appear in extraterrestrial samples: kamacite, taenite, martensite, tetrataenite, etc. Each type of Fe-Ni alloy has different magnetic properties. In order to properly contextualize our paleomagnetic results, we have to make sure we know what type of metal we’re looking at!
/just a slice of my life