Astrochemistry: December 2020

Scientists from Japan and the USA have confirmed the presence in meteorites of a key organic molecule which may have been used to build other organic molecules, including some used by life. The discovery validates theories of the formation of organic compounds in extraterrestrial environments.

This paper provides a brief summary and overview of the astrochemistry associated with the formation of stars and planets. It is aimed at new researchers in the field to enable them to obtain a quick overview of the landscape and key literature in this rapidly evolving area.

Electronically excited nitrogen atoms N(2D) are important species in the photochemistry of N2 based planetary atmospheres such as Titan. Despite this, few N(2D) reactions have been studied over the appropriate low temperature range.