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The evolution of organic matter in space
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Geological Sciences.
2011 (English)In: Philosophical Transactions. Series A: Mathematical, physical, and engineering science, ISSN 1364-503X, E-ISSN 1471-2962, Vol. 369, no 1936, 538-554 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Carbon, and molecules made from it, have already been observed in the early Universe. During cosmic time, many galaxies undergo intense periods of star formation, during which heavy elements like carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, silicon and iron are produced. Also, many complex molecules, from carbon monoxide to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, are detected in these systems, like they are for our own Galaxy. Interstellar molecular clouds and circumstellar envelopes are factories of complex molecular synthesis. A surprisingly high number of molecules that are used in contemporary biochemistry on the Earth are found in the interstellar medium, planetary atmospheres and surfaces, comets, asteroids and meteorites and interplanetary dust particles. Large quantities of extra-terrestrial material were delivered via comets and asteroids to young planetary surfaces during the heavy bombardment phase. Monitoring the formation and evolution of organic matter in space is crucial in order to determine the prebiotic reservoirs available to the early Earth. It is equally important to reveal abiotic routes to prebiotic molecules in the Earth environments. Materials from both carbon sources (extra-terrestrial and endogenous) may have contributed to biochemical pathways on the Earth leading to life’s origin. The research avenues discussed also guide us to extend our knowledge to other habitable worlds.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: The Royal Society , 2011. Vol. 369, no 1936, 538-554 p.
Keyword [en]
astrobiology, early universe, interstellar chemistry, solar nebula processes, extre-terrestrial delivery, hydrothermal systems
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Geochemistry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-51616DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2010.0231ISI: 000286222400004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-51616DiVA: diva2:385353
Available from: 2011-01-11 Created: 2011-01-11 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved

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