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Carbonaceous Survivability on ImpactIn order to gain knowledge about the potential contributions of comets and cosmic dust to the origin of life on Earth, we need to explore the survivability of their potential organic compounds on impact and the formation of secondary products that may have arisen from the chaotic events sustained by the carriers as they fell to Earth. We have performed a series of hypervelocity impact experiments using carbon-bearing impactors (diamond, graphite, kerogens, PAH crystals, and Murchison and Nogoya meteorites) into Al plate targets at velocities - 6 km/s. Estimated peak shock pressures probably did not exceed 120 GPa and peak shock temperatures were probably less than 4000 K for times of nano- to microsecs. Nominal crater dia. are less than one mm. The most significant results of these experiments are the preservation of the higher mass PAHs (e. g., pyrene relative to napthalene) and the formation of additional alkylated PAHs. We have also examined the residues of polystyrene projectiles impacted by a microparticle accelerator into targets at velocities up to 15 km/s. This talk will discuss the results of these experiments and their implications with respect to the survival of carbonaceous deliverables to early Earth. The prospects of survivability of organic molecules on "intact" capture of cosmic dust in space via soft: and hard cosmic dust collectors will also be discussed.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Bunch, T. E.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Becker, Luann
(California Univ., San Diego La Jolla, CA United States)
Morrison, David
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1994
Subject Category
Structural Mechanics
Meeting Information
Meeting: 207th ACS National Meeting
Location: San Diego, CA
Country: United States
Start Date: March 13, 1994
End Date: March 18, 1994
Sponsors: American Chemical Society
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 185-52-12
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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