Meteorites can reveal fragments of the history of the evolution of the solar system. With many long-term asteroidal sampling missions, petrographic investigations of meteorite specimens will assist in the study of asteroid samples. These rocky carbonaceous aggregates include snapshots of the early solar system and can contain calcium aluminum inclusions (CAI's) and corundum grains which can be among the first solids to condense from the solar nebula. Understanding their complex history of formation and subsequent thermodynamic events is critical in resolving early planetary stages. The growth patterns, grain boundaries, and subtle zonation from crystallization can indicate formation from nebular gasses. Cathodoluminescence investigation of a meteoritic specimen can reveal and map the presence of trace elements, grain boundaries and assist with mineralogical identification.

Major, minor, and trace element distributions in a meteorite revealed by energy dispersive spectroscopy and cathodoluminescence spectroscopy