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A self-perpetuating catalyst for the production of complex organic molecules in protostellar nebulae

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 February 2008

Joseph A. Nuth III
Affiliation:
Astrochemistry Laboratory, Code 691, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt MD 20771 email: Joseph.A.Nuth@NASA.gov
Natasha M. Johnson
Affiliation:
Astrochemistry Laboratory, Code 691, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt MD 20771 email: Joseph.A.Nuth@NASA.gov NASA Post Doctoral Program Research Management Associate, NASA Headquarters, Washington D.C. 20546
Steven Manning
Affiliation:
Astrochemistry Laboratory, Code 691, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt MD 20771 email: Joseph.A.Nuth@NASA.gov Astrobiology Summer Undergraduate Intern, Goddard Center for Astrobiology and Chemistry Department, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
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Abstract

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When hydrogen, nitrogen and CO are exposed to amorphous iron silicate surfaces at temperatures between 500–900 K a carbonaceous coating forms via Fischer-Tropsch type reactions. Under normal circumstances such a coating would impede or stop further reaction. However, we find that this coating is a better catalyst than the amorphous iron silicates that initiate these reactions. Formation of a self-perpetuating catalytic coating on grain surfaces could explain the rich deposits of macromolecular carbon found in primitive meteorites and would imply that protostellar nebulae should be rich in organic material.

Type
Contributed Papers
Copyright
Copyright © International Astronomical Union 2008

References

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