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Title: THE NITROGEN ISOTOPIC COMPOSITION OF METEORITIC HCN

HCN is ubiquitous in extraterrestrial environments and is central to current theories on the origin of early solar system organic compounds such as amino acids. These compounds, observed in carbonaceous meteorites, were likely important in the origin and/or evolution of early life. As part of our attempts to understand the origin(s) of meteoritic CN{sup –}, we have analyzed the {sup 15}N/{sup 14}N isotopic composition of HCN gas released from water extracts of the Murchison meteorite and found its value to be near those of the terrestrial atmosphere. The findings, when evaluated viz-a-viz molecular abundances and isotopic data of meteoritic organic compounds, suggest that HCN formation could have occurred during the protracted water alteration processes known to have affected the mineralogy of many asteroidal bodies during their solar residence. This was an active synthetic stage, which likely involved simple gasses, organic molecules, their presolar precursors, as well as mineral catalysts and would have lead to the formation of molecules of differing isotopic composition, including some with solar values.
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85018-1604 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22364889
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 796; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ASTEROIDS; ASTROPHYSICS; ELEMENT ABUNDANCE; HYDROCYANIC ACID; ISOTOPE RATIO; METEORITES; METEOROIDS; MOLECULES; NITROGEN 14; NITROGEN 15; ORGANIC COMPOUNDS; PLANETS; PRECURSOR; SOLAR SYSTEM; SOLAR SYSTEM EVOLUTION; WATER