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Bringing Organic Material to Earth Using Meteorites and Come

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Matt Muszynski

on 5 November 2015

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Transcript of Bringing Organic Material to Earth Using Meteorites and Come

Compositions of Meteorites
Iron meteorites:
A.K.A. "irons"
iron-nickel (Fe-Ni) metal
resembles metal from industrial refineries without shaping.
alloy ranges from 5% to 62% Ni
Cobalt averages 0.5%
Others; platinum group metals, gallium, and germanium
Most irons are pure metal BUT may contain up to 30% mineral inclusions such as sulfides, metal oxides and silicates.
The irons=the cores of former planetoids (meteoroid)
Bringing Organic Material to Earth Using Meteorites and Comets
By Kathy Ordyniec,
Matt Muszynski &
Chris Campbell

What are meteorites and comets?
Composition cont'd
Kuiper Belt
Beyond the Orbit of Neptune
Asteroid Belt
Objects in orbit between Mars and Jupiter
A fragment of rock or iron, coming into existence from outer space.
Characterized as a meteroid or asteroid
Passes through earth's atmosphere as a meteor
Dirty Snowballs
combination of ices containing water, carbon dioxide, ammonia and methane, mixed with dust.
Nucleus of ice surrounded by a coma; cloud of gas and dust
Stony irons
mixtures of Fe-Ni metal of between 30% and 70% & compounds of various silicates and minerals
The Fe-Ni metal exists as chunks, pebbles and granules
Stony irons = outer cores or mantles of planetoids (meteoroids) or else a mix of materials due to a collision
Composition Cont...
silicate rich meteorites
formed by crustal igneous (i.e., molten or volcanic) activity in their parent bodies
wide range of minerals
result of gravitational differentiation in relatively large bodies by melting and gravitational separation of mineral phases, and most resemble the Earth's crust.
Unique forms contain between 0 and 4% free Fe-Ni granules.
Composition cont'd
silicate rich
formed by crustal igneous (molten or volcanic) activity within parent bodies
wide range of minerals
result from gravitational differentiation in relatively large bodies by melting and crystallization processes within asteroids
most are similar to the Earth's crust
Unique forms of achondrites average between 0 and 4% free Fe-Ni granules.
likely from parent bodies that were too small to undergo substantial gravitational differentiation
or are collision ejecta from minor collisions of slightly differentiated bodies
Chondrites are named after the tiny pellets of rock called "chondrules" planted in them, a characteristic unique to small bodies
more detectable as nonterrestrial origin than the above meteoroids.
Extracting raw materials from asteroids while on space missions.
The main goal is to extract certain asteroid rocks with specific elements that could be transformed into rocket fuel.
Scientists have also found liquid on the surface
Organic Material
Scientists believe that the element phosphorus was carried here by meteorites
During the principle eons of the planets history
The phosphorus from meteorites was mixed with water and incorporated into prebiotic molecules
Some phosphorus is dated to be from 3.5 billion years ago
The amount brought to earth by meteorites would have been enough to chemically change the oceans
Organic Material cont'd
While the theory has a lot of backing evidence, there is no way, yet, to know for sure
Of all samples tested, only the oldest meteorite sample, from Australia, contained phosphite
Other natural sources of phosphorus would be lightning strikes, geothermal fluids, and hydrothermal systems
If discovered to have been occuring during the origins of Earth, these other sources of phosphorus can prove the meteorite theory for organic life
This is mainly because less phosphorus would need to be provided to the worlds oceans by meteorites, thus matching the samples previously tested
Evidence for materials on Earth through collisions
The organic material serves as building blocks for life and revolutionary purposes (rocket fuel)
Future research: finding specific locations of organic material, determining the stability of the matter, tracking parent meteroids
Conclusively, large collisions may be a threat to Earth but it can bring an abundance of rewarding material
A meteorite that landed near Murchison, Australia in 1969
Very useful for testing as many pieces of it were collected quickly after impact to avoid contamination from the earths surface
It carries the signature of the solar system from the suns formation, 4.6 billion years ago
It was found to contain a variety of compounds including dozens of amino acids
Murchison cont'd
Of the 14,000 unique molecular compositions found, over a million organic compounds could be arranged
The study of this meteorite is fueled by the theory of organic compounds being brought to earth by comets and meteorites
While the findings are interesting, it will take years to match the millions of chemical species to specific known compounds
Vesta Family
The Hubble Space Telescope observed the Vesta on November 28 and December 1, 1994
Vesta has a diameter of 525 kilometers
Detected the presence and plausibility of OH and H2O
May have possibly collided with other Carbonaceous Chondrite meteorites
How asteroids and meteorites could have played a vital role in the origin of life
Carbonaceous Asteroids and meteorites may have contributed large amounts of organic matter to our primitive Earth
Nitrogen, Hydrogen, Phosphorus, and Carbon may have arrived with these primitive meteorites
Significant impact on the origin of life and the way Earth formed throughout history because of our contact with meteorites
Asteroid Mining
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