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2004 Annual Science Report

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Reporting  |  JUL 2003 – JUN 2004

Observations of Comets C/2001, Q4, and C/2002 T7 (LINEAR) at 3mm Wavelength

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

Irvine collaborated on a review chapter for the book, Comets. II , on the subject of the processes undergone by organic matter that is cycled through interstellar cloud environments, into a forming solar system, and then into primitive bodies such as comets. He also edited certain chapters of the book, Astrobiology: Future Perspectives , and wrote portions of the final chapter of the book, discussing future strategies and prospects for astrobiology. 

Irvine continued as a member of the Working Group on Prebiotic Matter in Space, organized by the International Space Science Institute in Bern, Switzerland. This group meets twice a year for 4 to 5 days to formulate advice on astrobiology for the European Space Agency (ESA) and European universities. At its most recent meeting in January, 2004, the Working Group considered how future ESA missions might incorporate research relevant to astrobiology, and also worked together on a book describing the present state and future goals for astrobiological research.

Irvine continued as Chair of the Management Working Group and as a member of the Science Working Group for the Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT). The LMT is a joint project of the Instituto Nacional de Astrofisica, Optica y Electronica in Mexico, and the University of Massachusetts in the U.S.A., to build the world’s largest single-dish radio telescope operating at short millimeter/submillimeter wavelengths. Irvine is working to ensure that the telescope will indeed be a powerful instrument for research in astrobiology.

Irvine participated in planning observations of comets C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) and C/2002 T7 (LINEAR) at the Five College Radio Astronomy Observatory, operated by the University of Massachusetts. Emission was sought from the pure rotational transitions of HCN (J = 1-0) and HCO+ (J = 1-0) at 3mm wavelength.

    William Irvine
    Project Investigator