Searching the Moon for Extrasolar Material and the Building Blocks of Extraterrestrial Life

©NASA

Moon

Due to its absence of an atmosphere and relative geological inertness, the Moon's surface records past impacts of objects from the Solar system and beyond.

We examine the prospects for discovering extrasolar material near the lunar surface and predict that its abundance is (10) parts-per-million (ppm). The abundances of extrasolar organic carbon and biomolecular building blocks (e.g., amino acids) are estimated to be on the order of 0.1 ppm and <0.1 parts-per-billion (ppb), respectively.

We describe strategies for identifying extrasolar material and potentially detecting extrasolar biomolecular building blocks as well as molecular biosignatures of extinct extraterrestrial life. Thus, viewed collectively, we argue that in situ lunar exploration can provide vital new clues for astrobiology.

Manasvi Lingam, Abraham Loeb
(Submitted on 11 Jul 2019)

Comments: 6 pages; 0 figures
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)
Cite as: arXiv:1907.05427 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1907.05427v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Manasvi Lingam
[v1] Thu, 11 Jul 2019 18:00:03 UTC (70 KB)
https://arxiv.org/abs/1907.05427
Astrobiology

Please follow Astrobiology on Twitter.


  • submit to reddit