Astrochemistry: August 2019

The rare isotope iron-60 is created in massive stellar explosions. Only a very small amount of this isotope reaches the earth from distant stars. Now, a research team with significant involvement from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has discovered iron-60 in Antarctic snow for the first time. The scientists suggest that the iron isotope comes from the interstellar neighborhood.

The answer to "How did the first organisms on Earth incorporate the critical element phosphorus?" has been a quandary for researchers, but, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa physical chemists believe a meteoric visitor could be the critical link.

The work is devoted to the adaptation of the results of laboratory studies of the laser-induced dissociation of molecules of benzene adsorbed on a quartz substrate to the conditions of the interstellar medium.

Comets contain abundant amounts of organic and inorganic species. Many of the volatile molecules in comets have also been observed in the interstellar medium and some of them even with similar relative abundances, indicating formation under similar conditions or even sharing a common chemical pathway.