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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Science (New York, N.Y.), 03 September 2010, Vol.329(5996), pp.1159-60
    Keywords: Cosmic Dust ; Fullerenes ; Stars, Celestial -- Chemistry
    ISSN: 00368075
    E-ISSN: 1095-9203
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  • 2
    In: Nature, 2015, Vol.523(7560), p.296
    Description: Writing on page 322 of this issue, Campbell et al.1 report laboratory spectra of the buckminster fullerene, or 'buckyball', ion C60+. The spectra provide an excellent match to two interstellar bands that we discovered and attributed to this ion2, and securely identify C60+ as a component of the interstellar medium.
    Keywords: Laboratories ; Space Telescopes ; Carbon ; Stars & Galaxies ; Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons ; Fullerenes;
    ISSN: 0028-0836
    E-ISSN: 14764687
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Nature, July 16, 2015, Vol.523(7560), p.296(2)
    Keywords: Fullerenes – Spectra ; Fullerenes – Observations ; Interstellar Medium – Observations ; Interstellar Medium – Spectra
    ISSN: 0028-0836
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  • 4
    Article
    Article
    Language: English
    In: Science, 19 February 1999, Vol.283(5405), pp.1123-1124
    Description: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons make up about 20% of the total cosmic carbon and may have played a crucial role in the origins of life on earth. Although, hydrocarbons are not an essential ingredient in life, they may have helped form chemical pathways from space to the origins of life on Earth.
    Keywords: Physical sciences -- Physics -- Microphysics ; Physical sciences -- Chemistry -- Chemical compounds ; Physical sciences -- Astronomy -- Astronomical objects ; Physical sciences -- Astronomy -- Astronomical objects ; Physical sciences -- Physics -- Fundamental forces ; Physical sciences -- Astronomy -- Observational astronomy ; Physical sciences -- Astronomy -- Astronomical objects ; Physical sciences -- Physics -- Matter ; Physical sciences -- Physics -- Matter
    ISSN: 00368075
    E-ISSN: 10959203
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  • 5
    Language: English
    In: Astrobiology, Oct, 2011, Vol.11(8), p.737(5)
    Keywords: Astronomy & Astrophysics ; Biology;
    ISSN: 1531-1074
    E-ISSN: 15578070
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  • 6
    In: Nature, 2016, Vol.537(7618), p.73
    Description: Comets are thought to preserve almost pristine dust particles, thus providing a unique sample of the properties of the early solar nebula. The microscopic properties of this dust played a key part in particle aggregation during the formation of the Solar System. Cometary dust was previously considered to comprise irregular, fluffy agglomerates on the basis of interpretations of remote observations in the visible and infrared and the study of chondritic porous interplanetary dust particles that were thought, but not proved, to originate in comets. Although the dust returned by an earlier mission has provided detailed mineralogy of particles from comet 81P/Wild, the fine-grained aggregate component was strongly modified during collection. Here we report in situ measurements of dust particles at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The particles are aggregates of smaller, elongated grains, with structures at distinct sizes indicating hierarchical aggregation. Topographic images of selected dust particles with sizes of one micrometre to a few tens of micrometres show a variety of morphologies, including compact single grains and large porous aggregate particles, similar to chondritic porous interplanetary dust particles. The measured grain elongations are similar to the value inferred for interstellar dust and support the idea that such grains could represent a fraction of the building blocks of comets. In the subsequent growth phase, hierarchical agglomeration could be a dominant process and would produce aggregates that stick more easily at higher masses and velocities than homogeneous dust particles. The presence of hierarchical dust aggregates in the near-surface of the nucleus of comet 67P also provides a mechanism for lowering the tensile strength of the dust layer and aiding dust release.
    Keywords: Sciences (General) ; Physics;
    ISSN: 0028-0836
    E-ISSN: 1476-4687
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  • 7
    Language: English
    In: Science (New York, N.Y.), 31 July 2015, Vol.349(6247), pp.aab0689
    Description: Comets harbor the most pristine material in our solar system in the form of ice, dust, silicates, and refractory organic material with some interstellar heritage. The evolved gas analyzer Cometary Sampling and Composition (COSAC) experiment aboard Rosetta's Philae lander was designed for in situ analysis of organic molecules on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Twenty-five minutes after Philae's initial comet touchdown, the COSAC mass spectrometer took a spectrum in sniffing mode, which displayed a suite of 16 organic compounds, including many nitrogen-bearing species but no sulfur-bearing species, and four compounds—methyl isocyanate, acetone, propionaldehyde, and acetamide—that had not previously been reported in comets.
    Keywords: Sciences (General) ; Biology;
    ISSN: 00368075
    E-ISSN: 1095-9203
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  • 8
    Language: English
    In: Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids, 11 November 2014, Vol.30(44), pp.13217-27
    Description: The OREOcube (ORganics Exposure in Orbit cube) experiment on the International Space Station (ISS) will investigate the effects of solar and cosmic radiation on organic thin films supported on inorganic substrates. Probing the kinetics of structural changes and photomodulated organic-inorganic interactions with real-time in situ UV-visible spectroscopy, this experiment will investigate the role played by solid mineral surfaces in the (photo)chemical evolution, transport, and distribution of organics in our solar system and beyond. In preparation for the OREOcube ISS experiment, we report here laboratory measurements of the photostability of thin films of the 9,10-anthraquinone derivative anthrarufin (51 nm thick) layered upon ultrathin films of iron oxides magnetite and hematite (4 nm thick), as well as supported directly on fused silica. During irradiation with UV and visible light simulating the photon flux and spectral distribution on the surface of Mars, anthrarufin/iron oxide bilayer thin films were exposed to CO2 (800 Pa), the main constituent (and pressure) of the martian atmosphere. The time-dependent photodegradation of anthrarufin thin films revealed the inhibition of degradation by both types of underlying iron oxides relative to anthrarufin on bare fused silica. Interactions between the organic and inorganic thin films, apparent in spectral shifts of the anthrarufin bands, are consistent with presumed free-electron quenching of semiquinone anion radicals by the iron oxide layers, effectively protecting the organic compound from photodegradation. Combining such in situ real-time kinetic measurements of thin films in future space exposure experiments on the ISS with postflight sample return and analysis will provide time-course studies complemented by in-depth chemical analysis. This will facilitate the characterization and modeling of the chemistry of organic species associated with mineral surfaces in astrobiological contexts.
    Keywords: Chemistry;
    ISSN: 07437463
    E-ISSN: 1520-5827
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  • 9
    In: International Journal of Astrobiology, 2011, Vol.10(3), pp.177-190
    Description: Abstract The search for evidence of past or present life on Mars will require the detection of markers that indicate the presence of life. Because deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is found in all known living organisms, it is considered to be a ‘biosignature’ of life. The main function of DNA is the long-term storage of genetic information, which is passed on from generation to generation as hereditary material. The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is a revolutionary technique which allows a single fragment or a small number of fragments of a DNA molecule to be amplified millions of times, making it possible to detect minimal traces of DNA. The compactness of the contemporary PCR instruments makes routine sample analysis possible with a minimum amount of laboratory space. Furthermore the technique is effective, robust and straightforward. Our goal was to establish a routine for the detection of DNA from micro-organisms using the PCR technique during the EuroGeoMars simulation campaign. This took place at the Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah in February 2009 (organized with the support of the International Lunar Exploration Working Group (ILEWG), NASA Ames and the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC)). During the MDRS simulation, we showed that it is possible to establish a minimal molecular biology lab in the habitat for the immediate on-site analysis of samples by PCR after sample collection. Soil and water samples were taken at different locations and soil depths. The sample analysis was started immediately after the crew returned to the habitat laboratory. DNA was isolated from micro-organisms and used as a template for PCR analysis of the highly conserved ribosomal DNA to identify representatives of the different groups of micro-organisms (bacteria, archaea and eukarya). The PCR products were visualized by agarose gel electrophoresis and documented by transillumination and digital imaging. The microbial diversity in the collected samples was analysed with respect to sampling depth and the presence or absence of vegetation. For the first time, we have demonstrated that it is possible to perform direct on-site DNA analysis by PCR at MDRS, a simulated planetary habitat in an extreme environment that serves as a model for preparation and optimization of techniques to be used for future Mars exploration.
    Keywords: Astrobiology; Life Detection; Mars Desert Research Station; Microbial Communities; Pcr Instrumentation; Ribosomal Dna
    ISSN: 1473-5504
    E-ISSN: 1475-3006
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  • 10
    In: Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union, 2012, Vol.10(H16), pp.709-710
    Description: Abstract A significant number of molecules that are used in contemporary biochemistry on Earth are found in interstellar and circumstellar regions as well as solar system environments. In particular small solar system bodies hold clues to processes that formed our solar system. Comets, asteroids, and meteorite delivered extraterrestrial material during the heavy bombardment phase ~3.9 billion years ago to the young planets, a process that made carbonaceous material available to the early Earth. In-depth understanding of the organic reservoir in different space environments as well as data on the stability of organic and prebiotic material in solar system environments are vital to assess and quantify the extraterrestrial contribution of prebiotic sources available to the young Earth.
    Keywords: Contributed Papers; Prebiotic Matter; Comets; Asteroids; Meteorites; Carbonaceous Material; Early Earth
    ISSN: 1743-9213
    E-ISSN: 1743-9221
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