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Title: Organic synthesis on Mars by electrochemical reduction of CO2

Abstract

The sources and nature of organic carbon on Mars have been a subject of intense research. Steele et al. (2012) showed that 10 martian meteorites contain macromolecular carbon phases contained within pyroxene- and olivine-hosted melt inclusions. Here, we show that martian meteorites Tissint, Nakhla, and NWA 1950 have an inventory of organic carbon species associated with fluid-mineral reactions that are remarkably consistent with those detected by the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. We advance the hypothesis that interactions among spinel-group minerals, sulfides, and a brine enable the electrochemical reduction of aqueous CO2 to organic molecules. Although documented here in martian samples, a similar process likely occurs wherever igneous rocks containing spinel-group minerals and/or sulfides encounter brines.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [3]; ORCiD logo [4];  [5]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [6]; ORCiD logo [7];  [3]; ORCiD logo [8]; ORCiD logo [1];  [5]; ORCiD logo [9]; ORCiD logo [10]
  1. Carnegie Inst. for Science, Washington, DC (United States)
  2. German Research Centre for Geosciences, GFZ, Telegrafenberg (Germany); Free University of Berlin (Germany); University of Leeds (United Kingdom)
  3. German Research Centre for Geosciences, GFZ, Telegrafenberg (Germany)
  4. RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Stockholm (Sweden)
  5. NASA, Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX (United States)
  6. Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst., Troy, NY (United States)
  7. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, MD (United States)
  8. USRA–Science and Technology Institute, Huntsville, AL (United States)
  9. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  10. University of Leeds (United Kingdom); Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
OSTI Identifier:
1494088
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Science Advances
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 4; Journal Issue: 10; Journal ID: ISSN 2375-2548
Publisher:
AAAS
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; 37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY

Citation Formats

Steele, A., Benning, L. G., Wirth, R., Siljeström, S., Fries, M. D., Hauri, E., Conrad, P. G., Rogers, K., Eigenbrode, J., Schreiber, A., Needham, A., Wang, J. H., McCubbin, F. M., Kilcoyne, D., and Rodriguez Blanco, Juan Diego. Organic synthesis on Mars by electrochemical reduction of CO2. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aat5118.
Steele, A., Benning, L. G., Wirth, R., Siljeström, S., Fries, M. D., Hauri, E., Conrad, P. G., Rogers, K., Eigenbrode, J., Schreiber, A., Needham, A., Wang, J. H., McCubbin, F. M., Kilcoyne, D., & Rodriguez Blanco, Juan Diego. Organic synthesis on Mars by electrochemical reduction of CO2. United States. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aat5118.
Steele, A., Benning, L. G., Wirth, R., Siljeström, S., Fries, M. D., Hauri, E., Conrad, P. G., Rogers, K., Eigenbrode, J., Schreiber, A., Needham, A., Wang, J. H., McCubbin, F. M., Kilcoyne, D., and Rodriguez Blanco, Juan Diego. Wed . "Organic synthesis on Mars by electrochemical reduction of CO2". United States. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aat5118. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1494088.
@article{osti_1494088,
title = {Organic synthesis on Mars by electrochemical reduction of CO2},
author = {Steele, A. and Benning, L. G. and Wirth, R. and Siljeström, S. and Fries, M. D. and Hauri, E. and Conrad, P. G. and Rogers, K. and Eigenbrode, J. and Schreiber, A. and Needham, A. and Wang, J. H. and McCubbin, F. M. and Kilcoyne, D. and Rodriguez Blanco, Juan Diego},
abstractNote = {The sources and nature of organic carbon on Mars have been a subject of intense research. Steele et al. (2012) showed that 10 martian meteorites contain macromolecular carbon phases contained within pyroxene- and olivine-hosted melt inclusions. Here, we show that martian meteorites Tissint, Nakhla, and NWA 1950 have an inventory of organic carbon species associated with fluid-mineral reactions that are remarkably consistent with those detected by the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. We advance the hypothesis that interactions among spinel-group minerals, sulfides, and a brine enable the electrochemical reduction of aqueous CO2 to organic molecules. Although documented here in martian samples, a similar process likely occurs wherever igneous rocks containing spinel-group minerals and/or sulfides encounter brines.},
doi = {10.1126/sciadv.aat5118},
journal = {Science Advances},
number = 10,
volume = 4,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {10}
}

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Figures / Tables:

Fig. 1 Fig. 1: Light and CRIS of the relationship between magnetite and MMC in the meteorites studied. (A) Transmitted light microscopy image of a darkened area within maskelynite, entrained in the subsurface to the thin section in NWA 1950 (scale bar, 100 μm). The red box indicates the area for three-dimensionalmore » (3D) mapping by CRIS. (B) A 3D depth profile composite CRIS image of magnetite (red) and MMC (blue) (slices are 2 μm apart) from the area denoted by the red box in (A) (scale bar, ~60 μm). (C and D) The same area of Nakhla mesostasis imaged in transmission and reflection showing a magnetite grain beneath the surface of the section (marked by red arrows) (scale bars, 20 μm). (E) Transmitted light image of a magnetite-rich area (dark vertical band) in the Tissint meteorite [scale bar, 20 μm; red line on top delineates the area where a focused ion beam (FIB) section was removed for analyses; see Fig.  4]. (F to H) CRIS imaging maps taken at 8 μm into the surface of the thin section and depth profile of the feature shown in (A); (F) magnetite, (G) pyrite, and (H) MMC.« less

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