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NASA Ames Research Center Astrobiology Team

Our team investigation includes three modules. During 2016 our team made significant progress on all aspects of our combined research. Some highlights are described briefly in each module. More details can be found in our individual project reports.

Team Bullet   Modeling and Observations of Disks and Exoplanets Module

The Disks and Exoplanets Module uses thermo-chemical models that build on inputs from the other two modules, along with dynamical simulations to follow the transport and irradiation of organics as disks evolve and form planets. Chemical evolution of prototypical extrasolar nebulae and dynamical simulations that test migratory and in situ planet formation theories will determine disk parameters that are consistent with available observational data from protoplanetary disks and exoplanet surveys.

Team Bullet   Laboratory Studies Module
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.

Team Bullet   Computational Quantum Chemistry Module

This Module of the Ames team will make use of computational quantum chemistry techniques
(ab initio and density functional approaches) to elucidate the detailed mechanisms of chemical reactions both in the gas and condensed phases, as well as diverse catalytic processes.
Quantum chemistry results (reaction mechanisms, reaction rates, and product ratios) will be used to help interpret the laboratory results, and will feed into improved parameters for the disk modeling studies.


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NAI ARC Team Research Overview