Establishing a Common Origin for Carbonaceous Solids in Comets, IDPs, and Primitive Chondrites
When: March 28, 2011 11AM PDT
Primitive bodies in the Solar System contain relatively large quantities of refractory organic macromolecular material. A lack of consensus exists as to the ultimate origin of these extraterrestrial organic solids stemming largely from the fact that throughout the Galaxy there exist many regions were extensive organo-synthesis occurs. Origins theories span from the lowest temperatures in the Interstellar Medium up to 1000 K in the inner Solar System. The best constraint on the origin of refractory organic solids is obtained by detailed studies of the organic material directly. Using advanced spectroscopic techniques we have identified a plausible source for these organic solids and show that the organic solids in both comets and carbonaceous chondrites share a common origin. The broader implications of these results, both in terms of our understanding of the early history of primitive Solar System objects and the origin of life on Earth, will be discussed.