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Extraterrestrial Radiation Chemistry and Molecular AstronomyAstronomical observations of both solar system and interstellar regions have revealed a rich chemical inventory that includes most classes of organic molecules and selected inorganics. For example, gas-phase ethylene glycol and SOz have been observed by astronomers, while solidphase detections include OCS, H2O2 , and the cyanate anion.' All of these are found in environments that are, by earthly standards, exceedingly hostile: temperatures of 10 - 100 K, miniscule densities, and near-ubiquitous ionizing-radiation fields. Beyond the simplest chemical species, these conditions have made it difficult-to-impassible to account for the observed molecular abundances using gas-phase chemistry, suggesting solid-phase reactions play an important role. In extraterrestrial environments, cosmic rays, UV photons, and magnetospheric radiation all drive chemical reactions, even at cryogenic temperatures. To study this chemistry, radiation astrochemists conduct experiments on icy materials, frozen under vacuum and exposed to sources such as keV electrons and MeV protons. Compositional changes usually are followed with IR spectroscopy and, in selected cases, more-sensitive mass-spectral techniques. This talk will review some recent results on known and suspected extraterrestrial molecules and ions. Spectra and reaction pathways will be presented, and predictions made for interstellar chemistry and the chemistry of selected solar system objects. Some past radiation-chemical contributions, and future needs, will be explored.
Document ID
20090027885
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Hudson, Reggie L. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Moore, Marla H. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
July 12, 2009
Subject Category
Astronomy
Meeting Information
Department of Energy and the University of Notre Dame Conference(South Bend, IN)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.