Astrochemistry: March 2018

The organic content of protoplanetary disks sets the initial compositions of planets and comets, thereby influencing subsequent chemistry that is possible in nascent planetary systems.

Scientists have used lab experiments to retrace the chemical steps leading to the creation of complex hydrocarbons in space, showing pathways to forming 2-D carbon-based nanostructures in a mix of heated gases.

Formation of organic aerosols driven by photochemical reactions has been observed and suggested in CH4-containing atmospheres, including Titan and early Earth.