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Title: ICE CHEMISTRY ON OUTER SOLAR SYSTEM BODIES: ELECTRON RADIOLYSIS OF N{sub 2}-, CH{sub 4}-, AND CO-CONTAINING ICES

Radiation processing of the surface ices of outer Solar System bodies may be an important process for the production of complex chemical species. The refractory materials resulting from radiation processing of known ices are thought to impart to them a red or brown color, as perceived in the visible spectral region. In this work, we analyzed the refractory materials produced from the 1.2-keV electron bombardment of low-temperature N{sub 2}-, CH{sub 4}-, and CO-containing ices (100:1:1), which simulates the radiation from the secondary electrons produced by cosmic ray bombardment of the surface ices of Pluto. Despite starting with extremely simple ices dominated by N{sub 2}, electron irradiation processing results in the production of refractory material with complex oxygen- and nitrogen-bearing organic molecules. These refractory materials were studied at room temperature using multiple analytical techniques including Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy, and gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Infrared spectra of the refractory material suggest the presence of alcohols, carboxylic acids, ketones, aldehydes, amines, and nitriles. XANES spectra of the material indicate the presence of carboxyl groups, amides, urea, and nitriles, and are thus consistent with the IR data. Atomic abundance ratios for the bulk composition ofmore » these residues from XANES analysis show that the organic residues are extremely N-rich, having ratios of N/C ∼ 0.9 and O/C ∼ 0.2. Finally, GC-MS data reveal that the residues contain urea as well as numerous carboxylic acids, some of which are of interest for prebiotic and biological chemistries.« less
Authors:
; ; ; ;  [1]
  1. NASA Ames Research Center, MS 245-6, Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22518752
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 812; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; ABSORPTION SPECTROSCOPY; ALCOHOLS; ALDEHYDES; AMINES; CARBON MONOXIDE; CARBOXYLIC ACIDS; GAS CHROMATOGRAPHY; ICE; INFRARED SPECTRA; IRRADIATION; KETONES; MASS SPECTROSCOPY; METHANE; MOLECULES; NITRILES; PLUTO PLANET; RADIOLYSIS; SATELLITES; SOLAR SYSTEM; X-RAY SPECTROSCOPY