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Abstract

In this brief epilogue we take a look into the future and some very topical additional discussion is provided by Ursula Marvin on meteorites and Mars, the topic of Monica Grady’s article (Grady 2006).

John Wood in a brief but elegant essay has emphasized the failure so far to establish the origin of chondrules, a fundamental — perhaps the most fundamental — question facing meteoriticists at the present time. The alternative impact hypothesis to the nebular was not described in any detail in the chapter on ‘Chondrules and calcium-aluminium inclusions (CAIs)’ (McCall 2006) because, at the time of writing, it seemed rather outdated, but it has lately come to prominence again, being favoured by Sears (see Scott 2005).

As time progresses we hope to see an improved understanding of nebular processes resulting from a closer matching of astrophysical models to data arising from research, such as that conducted on understanding the nature of shortlived isotopes. High-resolution chronologies of events in the early solar system should become more clearly defined. The timescales of accretion and differentiation in the early solar system will then, hopefully, be better understood. This, in turn, can aid in the interpretation of observational data, using more sensitive detector technologies, concerning the evolution of circumstellar discs and stellar formation processes.

Exoplanet searches are becoming more sophisticated and the observed range of planetary systems around other stars raises all sorts of interesting questions about planetary dynamics and evolutionary processes. Is our solar system unique or part of a continuum of planetary configurations that

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