Chemical analysis of organic molecules in carbonaceous meteorites

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Chemical analysis of organic molecules in carbonaceous meteorites

Type: Doctoral Thesis
Title: Chemical analysis of organic molecules in carbonaceous meteorites
Author: Torrao Pinto Martins, Zita Carla
Publisher: Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Astrobiology group, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Leiden University
Issue Date: 2007-01-24
Keywords: Extraterrestrial organic molecules
L-enantiomeric excess
Meteorites
Origin of life
Abstract: Meteorites are extraterrestrial objects that survive the passage through the Earth’s atmosphere and impact the Earth's surface. They can be divided into several classes, the carbonaceous chondrites being one of them. Carbonaceous chondrites are the oldest and best preserved meteorites and contain a record of the birth of the solar system. They are rich in carbon, containing up to 3 wt% of organic carbon. Carbonaceous chondrites have a rich organic inventory that includes, among others, amino acids, carboxylic acids, and nucleobases. Some of the organic compounds present in carbonaceous meteorites are important in terrestrial biochemistry. It is suggested that carbonaceous meteorites may have exogenously delivered extraterrestrial organic molecules to the early Earth, therefore contributing with the first prebiotic building blocks of life. The research described in this thesis focuses on the analysis of extraterrestrial organic compounds present in carbonaceous meteorites. The performed experiments seek to provide an important contribution to understand the formation and evolution of these compounds. Furthermore, the use of complementary analytical techniques allow us to gain information about extraterrestrial delivery processes of organic molecules to Earth, subsequent incorporation into the carbonaceous material available on the young Earth, and their possible importance for the origin and evolution of life on our planet and possibly elsewhere.
Description: Promotor: P. Ehrenfreund
With summary in Dutch
Faculty: Faculteit der Wiskunde en Natuurwetenschappen
Citation: Torrao Pinto Martins, Z.C., 2007, Doctoral thesis, Leiden University
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/9450
 

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