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Astrochemistry: March 2010


Applications are invited for a Post-doctoral Research fellowship in Cosmochemistry. The successful applicant will join an active research program that investigates a wide variety of topics, including: 1) the chronology of the early solar system, 2) the nature and origin of the presolar dust that provided the raw material for the solar system, 3) the isotopic and chemical compositions and origins of primitive chondritic components, 4) samples returned by the Stardust Mission to comet Wild 2, and 5) solar wind samples returned by the GENESIS Mission. The main analytical tools for this research are the petrographic microscope, scanning electron microscope, electron microprobe, scanning Raman microscope, and ion microprobe. Minimum qualifications include a Ph.D. in a discipline relevant to cosmochemistry and experience in one or more of the following areas: cosmochemistry, meteoritics, isotope geo- or cosmochemistry, secondary ion mass spectrometry. Previous experience with one or more of the following is required (training will be provided for the others): petrographic microscope, scanning electron microscope, electron microprobe, Raman microscope, or ion microprobe. Experience with isotopic measurements or meteorite petrography is desired. The successful candidate will participate in one or more of the above research projects and will receive training and will be expected to become an independent user of the Cameca ims 1280 ion microprobe at the University of Hawai'i. The Fellowship will be for an initial period of 1 year with renewal for up to 2 additional years based on performance and on the availability of support.

Stardust Comet Sample Return Mission"
Join us for the next NAI Director's Seminar!

Date/Time: Monday, March 29, 2010 11:00AM Pacific
Speaker: Don Brownlee (University of Washington), PI of Stardust Mission
Title: "Comets and the Early Solar System - Results from the Stardust Comet Sample Return Mission"

The NASA Stardust mission returned hundreds of samples of dust and small rocks from comet Wild 2. Like other Jupiter Family Comets, Wild 2 is believed to have formed beyond Neptune and stored in the Kuiper Belt until its recent migration into the inner solar system. Laboratory analyses of the comet samples provide a remarkably detailed look at the nature of solar nebula materials the resided at the edge of the solar system at the time that planets formed. Isotopically anomalous pre-solar grains have been found in the comet but their abundance is surprisingly low and it is clear that the bulk of micron and larger comet grains formed in the solar system by high temperature processes. The comet contains fragments of familiar high temperature components such as CAIs and chondrules that are well studied components of primitive meteorites. Common components formed in the 1400 to 2000K range These findings show that there was efficient radial transport of 1-100um grains over distances of 10's of AU. The comet seems to be a well preserved "grab bag" of components that formed in hot regions of the solar nebula. The low survival rate of pre-solar silicate grains at the edge of the solar nebula disk also suggests a low survival rate of pre-solar organics. It is clear that cometary icy and rocky materials formed in different environments. Stardust provided no information on ices but did it collect cometary organics including glycine. Comet-like bodies were probably the dominant form of planetesimal in the solar nebula and the Wild 2 results provide a very detailed look at the materials that made such bodies at the edge of the solar nebula.

For more information and participation instructions: http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/nai/seminars/detail/169 [Source NAI newsletter]

TO: NAI Newsletter distribution list
FROM: George Cody (NAI CIW team) and Douglas Whittet (NAI RPI team)
SUBJECT: Announcement and invitation to attend NAI "Workshop Without Walls": The Organic Continuum from the ISM to the Early SolarSystem

DATES: March 11-12, 2010

Workshop Website: http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/nai/2010vcworkshop

A two-day workshop using NAI remote communications tools will be held on March 11 and 12, 2010 to present topics spanning the cosmic evolution of organic complexity, from small molecule formation in interstellar clouds to organic synthesis and inventories in protoplanetary disks, the solar nebula, and primitive bodies such as comets and asteroids in our solar system.

Workshop topic areas include

* Interstellar Dust and the Organic Inventory of Protostellar Envelopes
* Organic Astrochemistry of Protoplanetary Disks
* Laboratory Studies of analog ISM and outer Solar System Materials
* Organics and Volatiles in Comets
* Organic matter in Interplanetary Dust particles.
* The Organic Inventory in Asteroids and Primitive Meteorites

This workshop is also a test of how to best use the advanced virtual communications capabilities of NAI to initiate greater cross-team awareness and dialog on a focused research area well represented across the NAI. What we learn from this will inform the greater NAI community.

The workshop is open to all and will be accessible via internet browser- no special software or equipment is required. To receive connection details, please register on the NAI website: http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/nai/2010vcworkshop