Science with an ngVLA: Prebiotic Molecules


Simulation of six complex organic molecules in a 5′′ source at Tex =100K, ∆V=3kms−1, and NT =5×1013 cm−2. The simulation assumes the source completely fills the beam. Glycine transitions have been shown in bold red for emphasis. The approximate noise level of a 10 hour ngVLA integration with 0.6 km s−1 resolution is shown as a dashed blue line.

Extraterrestrial amino acids, the chemical building blocks of the biopolymers that comprise life as we know it on Earth are present in meteoritic samples.

More recently, glycine (NH2CH2COOH), the simplest amino acid, was detected by the Rosetta mission in comet 67P. Despite these exciting discoveries, our understanding of the chemical and physical pathways to the formation of (pre)biotic molecules is woefully incomplete.

This is largely because our knowledge of chemical inventories during the different stages of star and planet formation is incomplete. It is therefore imperative to solidify our accounting of the chemical inventories, especially of critical yet low-abundance species, in key regions and to use this knowledge to inform, expand, and constrain chemical models of these reactions. This is followed naturally by a requirement to understand the spatial distribution and temporal evolution of this inventory. Here, we briefly outline a handful of particularly-impactful use cases in which the ngVLA will drive the field forward.

Brett A. McGuire, P. Brandon Carroll, Robin T. Garrod
(Submitted on 15 Oct 2018)

Comments: To be published in the ASP Monograph Series, "Science with a Next-Generation VLA", ed. E. J. Murphy (ASP, San Francisco, CA)
Subjects: Astrophysics of Galaxies (astro-ph.GA)
Cite as: arXiv:1810.06586 [astro-ph.GA] (or arXiv:1810.06586v1 [astro-ph.GA] for this version)
Submission history
From: Brett McGuire
[v1] Mon, 15 Oct 2018 18:02:43 GMT (126kb,D)
https://arxiv.org/abs/1810.06586
Astrobiology, Astrochemistry

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