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Laboratory Studies Module

Image of the individual Laboratory Studies Module blue hexagon icon.The Astrochemical Experiments Module conducts laboratory studies with mixtures of minerals, organic molecules, and ices to study radiation- and surface-mediated chemistry. Experiments are designed to characterize organic products and compare them to organics found in relevant regions of protoplanetary disks, exoplanets, as well as meteorites and samples from sample return missions. The team will search for products of astrobiological interest and determine whether the organic residues produced have interesting astrobiological behaviors.

2016 Summary:

Significant progress has been made in several areas of our laboratory research. An apparatus for studying gas-grain chemistry has been developed and constructed. We have also completed a preliminary study of the abiotic production of sugars and sugar derivatives during the photolysis of simple ice mixtures. We have also completed studies that have demonstrated that all of the nucleobases used by modern life, as well as a host of related compounds, can also be produced by ice photolysis.

Fig. 6. Harrick Praying Mantis low-temperature setup with the flowing hydrogen lamp adapter. Note the two gas inlet ports on the adapter, which permit the introduction of astrobiologically relevant gases.





Team members:

Scott Sandford

Andrew Mattioda

Michel Nuevo

Christopher Materese

Gustavo Cruz Diaz