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Organic Matter in Cometary Environments

by 1,2,* and 3,4
1
Department of Physics, American University, Washington, DC 20016, USA
2
Planetary Systems Laboratory Code 693, Solar System Exploration Division, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
3
Astrochemistry Laboratory Code 691, Solar System Exploration Division, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
4
Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, MD 21046, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Life 2021, 11(1), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11010037
Received: 7 October 2020 / Revised: 28 December 2020 / Accepted: 1 January 2021 / Published: 8 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chemical Evolution of Organic Molecules in Solar System Small Bodies)
Comets contain primitive material leftover from the formation of the Solar System, making studies of their composition important for understanding the formation of volatile material in the early Solar System. This includes organic molecules, which, for the purpose of this review, we define as compounds with C–H and/or C–C bonds. In this review, we discuss the history and recent breakthroughs of the study of organic matter in comets, from simple organic molecules and photodissociation fragments to large macromolecular structures. We summarize results both from Earth-based studies as well as spacecraft missions to comets, highlighted by the Rosetta mission, which orbited comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko for two years, providing unprecedented insights into the nature of comets. We conclude with future prospects for the study of organic matter in comets. View Full-Text
Keywords: comet; organics; volatiles; astrobiology comet; organics; volatiles; astrobiology
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MDPI and ACS Style

McKay, A.J.; Roth, N.X. Organic Matter in Cometary Environments. Life 2021, 11, 37. https://doi.org/10.3390/life11010037

AMA Style

McKay AJ, Roth NX. Organic Matter in Cometary Environments. Life. 2021; 11(1):37. https://doi.org/10.3390/life11010037

Chicago/Turabian Style

McKay, Adam J.; Roth, Nathan X. 2021. "Organic Matter in Cometary Environments" Life 11, no. 1: 37. https://doi.org/10.3390/life11010037

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