Results tagged “Astrochemistry”

NASA's telescope on an airplane, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, has provided a new glimpse of the chemistry in the inner region surrounding massive young stars where future planets could begin to form. It found massive quantities of water and organic molecules in these swirling, disk-shaped clouds, offering new insights into how some of the key ingredients of life get incorporated into planets during the earliest stages of formation.

Planets form and obtain their compositions in disks of gas and dust around young stars. The chemical compositions of these planet-forming disks regulate all aspects of planetary compositions from bulk elemental inventories to access to water and reactive organics, i.e. a planet's hospitality to life and its chemical origins.

Non-linear behavior in interstellar chemical models has been recognized for 25 years now. Different mechanisms account for the possibility of multiple fixed-points at steady state, characterized by the ionization degree of the gas.

The ESA Rosetta mission has acquired unprecedented measurements of comet 67/P-Churyumov-Gerasimenko (hereafter 67P) nucleus surface, whose composition, as determined by in situ and remote sensing instruments including VIRTIS (Visible, InfraRed and Thermal Imaging Spectrometer) appears to be made by an assemblage of ices, minerals, and organic material.

Aims. We tackle the conundrums of organic materials missing from interstellar dust when measured inside the Solar System, while undoubtedly existing in the local interstellar cloud (LIC), which surrounds the Solar System.

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), astronomers spotted a pair of massive baby stars growing in salty cosmic soup. Each star is shrouded by a gaseous disk which includes molecules of sodium chloride, commonly known as table salt, and heated water vapor.

Water Is Trapped In Star Dust

The matter between the stars in a galaxy - called the interstellar medium - consists not only of gas, but also of a great deal of dust.

Small organic molecules are thought to provide building blocks for the formation of complex interstellar polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

New research led by the American Museum of Natural History and funded by NASA identifies a process that might have been key in producing the first organic molecules on Earth about 4 billion years ago, before the origin of life. The process, which is similar to what might have occurred in some ancient underwater hydrothermal vents, may also have relevance to the search for life elsewhere in the universe. Details of the study are published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

When searching for exoplanets and ultimately considering their habitability, it is necessary to consider the planet's composition, geophysical processes, and geochemical cycles in order to constrain the bioessential elements available to life.

Cryogenic Cometary Sample Return

Comets likely formed in the outer regions of the protosolar nebula where they incorporated and preserved primitive presolar materials, volatiles resident in the outer disk, and more refractory materials from throughout the disk.

We present an overview of the GOTHAM (GBT Observations of TMC-1: Hunting Aromatic Molecules) Large Program on the Green Bank Telescope.

A new study finds that Earth's water may have come from materials that were present in the inner solar system at the time the planet formed -- instead of far-reaching comets or asteroids delivering such water. The findings published Aug. 28 in Science suggest that Earth may have always been wet.

The origin of life on Earth is a topic that has piqued human curiosity since probably before recorded history began.

During a 2012 expedition to Antarctica, a team of Japanese and Belgian researchers picked up a small rock that appeared coal black against the snow white. Now known as meteorite Asuka 12236, it was roughly the size of a golf ball.

Any search for present or past life beyond Earth should consider the initial processes and related environmental controls that might have led to its start.

All the chemical elements in the universe, except for hydrogen and most of the helium, were produced inside stars. But among them there are a few (carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, sulphur and phosphorus) which are particularly interesting because they are basic to life as we know it on Earth.

As Carl Sagan famously said, "We're made of star stuff" -- but how do stars distribute their essential "stuff" for life into space? NASA's telescope on an airplane, SOFIA, is finding some answers by watching pulsating stars as they expand and contract, almost like beating hearts.

We advocate for the realization of volatile sample return from various destinations including: small bodies, the Moon, Mars, ocean worlds/satellites, and plumes. As part of recent mission studies (e.g., Comet Astrobiology Exploration SAmple Return (CAESAR) and Mars Sample Return), new concepts, technologies, and protocols have been considered for specific environments and cost.

Astrochemical modeling is needed for understanding the formation and evolution of interstellar molecules, and for extracting physical information from spectroscopic observation of molecular lines.

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