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2012 Annual Science Report

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory - Titan Reporting  |  SEP 2011 – AUG 2012

Task Reactions of Organics With Ices and Mineral Grains

Project Summary

One focus is on understanding reactions occurring on Titan’s surface with an emphasis on determining whether mineral deposits from meteoritic infall can catalyze the formation of more complex molecules of prebiotic relevance such as amines, polyamines or simple amino acids.

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

Co-Investigator Thom Orlando and colleagues seek to develop a mapping technique using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy to evaluate the influence of each mineral inclusion on the formation of P O-C bonds while thin ices are thermally processed.

First IR experiments were performed under purged N2 atmosphere at 77K and involved the reaction between an iron meteorite surrogate (Fe3P) and organics. These experiments suggest that Fe3P is non reactive toward some organics such as acetonitrile or formamide even under UV or green laser irradiations. The presence of the powder does not enhance nor accelerate the decomposition of these species under UV irradiations.

    Thomas Orlando
    Project Investigator
    Objective 2.2
    Outer Solar System exploration

    Objective 3.1
    Sources of prebiotic materials and catalysts