The Barcelona based research group led by Dr. Trigo-Rodriguez specialises in minor bodies and meteorites at the Institute of Space Sciences (CSIC-IEEC). Their research focuses on the formation and physical properties of primitive solar system minor bodies (comets and asteroids), the study of their fragments in space (meteoroids) or as surviving rocks arrived on Earth (meteorites). These studies provide clues on the origins of our Solar System because primitive meteorites, and particularly chondrites, are retentive of the chemical and isotopic conditions prevailing in the early Solar System. Many meteorites suffered different processes that modified some of their primeval physical, chemical and isotopic properties. For that reason, this research group promotes laboratory studies of meteorites using different analytical techniques, remote analyses of asteroid and comets, and determination of dynamic strength and other physico-chemical data from meteor and fireball data. The team is also interested in impact hazard and the study of bolides and superbolides to recover new meteorites. Dr Trigo-Rodriguez is the founder and coordinator of the Spanish Fireball and Meteorite Network that has been monitorizing the night sky over Morocco, Portugal, and Spain for 25 years, using state-of-the-art digital sensors.
The research team performs laboratory experiments to infer post-accretion properties such as aqueous and thermal modifications in chondrites, lunar and Martian meteorites that could affect the primordial physical properties of porous bodies having variable dust to ice ratios. Formation conditions of primitive bodies are particularly important to decipher their capacity to retain water ice and organics from the solar nebula. It seems that the first bodies formed by accretion from the protoplanetary disk had very different physical properties than most of the present solar system minor bodies: asteroids, comets and their meteorites. Consequently, Dr. Trigo-Rodríguez’s research group works in all critical processes, including collisional compaction, aqueous alteration and irradiative heating that produced the progressive compaction of undifferentiated bodies in order to constrain and define realistic parameters for solar system formation from dust accretion to planetesimal formation, and delivery of volatiles to terrestrial planets.