Dr. David “duck” Mittlefehldt
Dr. David “duck” Mittlefehldt primarily investigates the origin of differentiated meteorites — those formed by magmatic processes on asteroids very early in solar system history. He recently retired from NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) and had research projects started that needed to be finalized for publication in peer-reviewed journals. As a Heritage Fellow, his research focus is to work on unpublished data on several groups of meteorites and submit manuscripts for publication in international scientific journals. In addition, there is a suite of samples of ureilite meteorites that have not been analyzed because of lab downtime due to laboratory renovations and COVID-19 closures. He is currently working with colleagues at JSC to get major, minor, and trace element analyses done on these meteorites by inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Six manuscripts will be submitted for publication covering: (1) pallasites, (2) mesosiderites, (3) acapulcoites and lodranites, (4) R chondrites, (5) ureilites, and (6) the anomalous basaltic achondrite Pasamonte. Dr. Mittlefehldt is working on two of these manuscripts (pallasites and Pasamonte).
Dr. Mittlefehldt is collaborating with Dr. Walter Kiefer at the LPI on a project modeling the physical and chemical differentiation of asteroid 4 Vesta by bringing his knowledge of the geochemistry of meteorites that come from Vesta. He also was one of the NASA JSC mentors of former LPI Postdoc Dr. Jennifer Gorce. He continues to work with her as she finalizes her research on basaltic eucrite meteorites.