Astrochemistry: October 2020

Pyruvic acid--a key molecule involved in the synthesis of compounds such as amino acids (often referred to as the "building blocks of life")--can be produced in deep space, according to researchers at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Department of Chemistry's W.M. Keck Research Laboratory in Astrochemistry and the Justus Liebig University Giessen in Germany.

Chemists studying how life started often focus on how modern biopolymers like peptides and nucleic acids contributed, but modern biopolymers don't form easily without help from living organisms.

The "Big Bang" may have started the universe but it's likely that littler bangs played a key role in life on Earth, say Albion College physics professor Nicolle Zellner and chemistry professor Vanessa McCaffrey.

We propose a classification of exoplanet atmospheres based on their H, C, O, N element abundances below about 600 K. Chemical equilibrium models were run for all combinations of H, C, N, O abundances, and three types of solutions were found, which are robust against variations of temperature, pressure and nitrogen abundance.

A gas-phase formation route is proposed for the recently detected propargylimine molecule. In analogy to other imines, such as cyanomethanimine, the addition of a reactive radical (C2H in the present case) to methanimine (CH2NH}) leads to reaction channels open also in the harsh conditions of the interstellar medium.

We design and train a neural network (NN) model to efficiently predict the infrared spectra of interstellar polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) with a computational cost many orders of magnitude lower than what a first-principles calculation would demand.

Isolated dense molecular cores are investigated to study the onset of complex organic molecule formation in interstellar ice.

The aim of this study is to investigate the chemical evolution from the prestellar phase to the formation of the disk, and to determine the impact that the chemical composition of the cold and dense core has on the final composition of the disk.

NASA's telescope on an airplane, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, has provided a new glimpse of the chemistry in the inner region surrounding massive young stars where future planets could begin to form. It found massive quantities of water and organic molecules in these swirling, disk-shaped clouds, offering new insights into how some of the key ingredients of life get incorporated into planets during the earliest stages of formation.

Planets form and obtain their compositions in disks of gas and dust around young stars. The chemical compositions of these planet-forming disks regulate all aspects of planetary compositions from bulk elemental inventories to access to water and reactive organics, i.e. a planet's hospitality to life and its chemical origins.

Non-linear behavior in interstellar chemical models has been recognized for 25 years now. Different mechanisms account for the possibility of multiple fixed-points at steady state, characterized by the ionization degree of the gas.