Larry Taylor

Professor in Earth and Planetary Sciences, Director of the Planetary Geosciences Institute

Phone: 865-974-6013

Departmental Website

Larry Taylor has the distinction of having researched lunar rocks and soils continually with NASA funds since Apollo, when he participated in the "back-room" directing the lunar astronauts on the Moon. He leads several endeavors to return astronauts to the Moon, as a precursor for future manned missions to Mars. His research uncovered evidence that water was initially brought to the Moon by comets, adding to the theory of the formation of the Moon by the giant impact of a Mars-sized planetesimal with the nascent Earth.

His expertise also extends to rocks from Mars and asteroids (meteorites), where he has been instrumental in the discovery of several new high-pressure minerals. Taylor also is an expert in the nature and origin of natural diamonds, particularly those from northern Siberia. These diamonds contain mineral inclusions that have been captured and brought to the surface from literally hundreds of miles deep. These are clues that reveal otherwise unattainable data on the mantle of the Earth.

Topics of expertise: Petrology, geochemistry, the Moon, diamonds, and geology

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