Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Astrophysicists Observe Anomalies In Makeup Of Interplanetary Dust Particle

Date:
February 27, 2004
Source:
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Summary:
Scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Washington University have seen carbon and nitrogen anomalies on a particle of interplanetary dust that provides a clue as to how interstellar organic matter was incorporated into the solar system.

A photo of the nucleus of comet Wild-2 observed by the STARDUST spacecraft Jan. 2, 2004 (image courtesty of NASA-JPL). Inset (lower right) is a secondary image (green/blue) of an interplanetary dust particle (IDP) with a 15 nitrogen-enriched and 13 carbon-depleted (red/yellow) "hotspot" containing similar atomic interstellar molecules.The adenine molecule (N5C5H5) is one possible carrier of the 13 carbon and 15 nitrogen anomalies. Cometary IDPs were likely a major source of organic matter accreted by the prebiotic earth.
Credit: Image Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

LIVERMORE, Calif. -- Scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Washington University have seen carbon and nitrogen anomalies on a particle of interplanetary dust that provides a clue as to how interstellar organic matter was incorporated into the solar system.

Interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) gathered from the Earth's stratosphere are complex collections of primitive solar system material and carry various isotopic anomalies. Using an ion microprobe that allows isotopic imaging at a scale of 100 nanometers, the astrophysicists conducted simultaneous carbon and nitrogen isotopic imaging measurements of the IDP, nicknamed Benavente. They noticed that the isotope carbon 13 decreased while nitrogen 15 increased in Benavente.

The results appear in the Feb. 27 issue of the journal Science.

Interstellar molecular clouds are the principal formation sites of organic matter in the Milky Way. A variety of simple molecules are produced in dense cold clouds. At such low temperatures, where the difference in chemical binding energy exceeds thermal energy, mass fractionation produces molecules with isotopic ratios that can be very different from molecules found on Earth.

These anomalies may provide a fingerprint for how abiotic interstellar organic matter was incorporated into the solar system.

The authors concluded that the observation of correlated carbon and nitrogen anomalies establishes that IDPs contain heteroatomic organic compounds of presolar interstellar origins that are more complex than the simple compounds implied by earlier measurements. During the prebiotic period, Earth may have accreted as much as a centimeter of abiotic carbonaceous matter every million years, much of it settling to the surface within small, high-surface-area IDPs. "This constant flux of particulate organic matter continues to be delivered to the surface of terrestrial planets today and includes hetero-atomic interstellar molecules such as those found in Benavente. It is not unreasonable to speculate that heteroatomic interstellar molecular matter may be relevant to the origins of life on earth" said John Bradley, director of Livermore's Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics and one of the authors of the paper. Other Livermore authors include Zurong Dai, Sasa Bajt and Giles Graham.

###

Images of an IDP can be found at http://www.llnl.gov/llnl/06news/NewsMedia/stardust.html

Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a national security laboratory, with a mission to ensure national security and apply science and technology to the important issues of our time. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. "Astrophysicists Observe Anomalies In Makeup Of Interplanetary Dust Particle." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 February 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/02/040227071651.htm>.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. (2004, February 27). Astrophysicists Observe Anomalies In Makeup Of Interplanetary Dust Particle. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/02/040227071651.htm
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. "Astrophysicists Observe Anomalies In Makeup Of Interplanetary Dust Particle." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/02/040227071651.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nuclear-Level Asteroids Might Be More Common Than We Realize

Nuclear-Level Asteroids Might Be More Common Than We Realize

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) — The B612 Foundation says asteroids strike Earth much more often than previously thought, and are hoping to build an early warning system. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Chief Outlines Plan for Human Mission to Mars

NASA Chief Outlines Plan for Human Mission to Mars

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) — NASA administrator Charles Bolden, speaking at the 'Human to Mars Summit' in Washington, says that learning more about the Red Planet can help answer the 'fundamental question' of 'life beyond Earth'. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nasa Gives You An Excuse to Post a Selfie on Earth Day

Nasa Gives You An Excuse to Post a Selfie on Earth Day

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) — NASA is inviting all social media users to take a selfie of themselves alongside nature and to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, or Google Plus with the hashtag #globalselfie. NASA's goal is to crowd-source a collection of snapshots of the earth, ground-up, that will be used to create one "unique mosaic of the Blue Marble." This image will be available to all in May. Since this is probably one of the few times posting a selfie to Twitter won't be embarrassing, we suggest you give it a go for a good cause. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
SpaceX's Dragon Spacecraft Captured by International Space Station

SpaceX's Dragon Spacecraft Captured by International Space Station

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 20, 2014) — SpaceX's unmanned Dragon spacecraft makes a scheduled Easter Sunday rendezvous with the International Space Station. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins