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Organic matter on the early surface of Mars: An assessment of the contribution by interplanetary dustCalculations by Anders and Chyba et al. have recently revived interest in the suggestion that organic compounds important to the development of life were delivered to the primitive surface of the Earth by comets, asteroids or the interplanetary dust derived from these two sources. Anders has shown that the major post-accretion contribution of extraterrestrial organic matter to the surface of the Earth is from interplanetary dust. Since Mars is a much more favorable site for the gentle deceleration of interplanetary dust particles than is Earth, model calculations show that biologically important organic compounds are likely to have been delivered to the early surface of Mars by the interplanetary dust in an order-of-magnitude higher surface density than onto the early Earth. Using the method described by Flynn and McKay, the size frequency distribution, and the atmospheric entry velocity distribution of IDP's at Mars were calculated. The entry velocity distribution, coupled with the atmospheric entry heating model developed by Whipple and extended by Fraundorf was used to calculate the fraction of the particles in each mass decade which survives atmospheric entry without melting (i.e., those not heated above 1600K). The incident mass and surviving mass in each mass decade are shown for both Earth and Mars.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Flynn, G. J.
(State Univ. of New York Plattsburgh, NY, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Twenty-fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Part 1: A-F
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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