Astrochemistry: February 2014

A recent study indicates that water ice and simple molecules of carbon and nitrogen might form the seed material for more complex substances, some of which might ultimately be involved in the origin of life.

The class of meteorites called carbonaceous chondrites are examples of material from the solar system which have been relatively unchanged from the time of their initial formation.

While the origin of life remains mysterious, scientists are finding more and more evidence that material created in space and delivered to Earth by comet and meteor impacts could have given a boost to the start of life.

Results from recent space missions, in particular Spitzer and Herschel, have lead to significant progress in our understanding of the formation and transport of water from clouds to disks, planetesimals, and planets.