Cometary micrometeorites and input of prebiotic compounds
CSNSM CNRS/IN2P3-Univ. Paris Sud, Bat. 104, 91405 Orsay Campus, France
The apparition of life on the early Earth was probably favored by inputs of extraterrestrial matter brought by carbonaceous chondrite-like objects or cometary material. Interplanetary dust collected nowadays on Earth is related to carbonaceous chondrites and to cometary material. They contain in particular at least a few percent of organic matter, organic compounds (amino-acids, PAHs,…), hydrous silicates, and could have largely contributed to the budget of prebiotic matter on Earth, about 4 Ga ago. A new population of cometary dust was recently discovered in the Concordia Antarctic micrometeorite collection. These “Ultracarbonaceous Antarctic Micrometeorites” (UCAMMs) are dominated by deuterium-rich and nitrogen-rich organic matter. They seem related to the “CHON” grains identified in the comet Halley in 1986. Although rare in the micrometeorites flux (<5% of the micrometeorites), UCAMMs could have significantly contributed to the input of prebiotic matter. Their content in soluble organic matter is currently under study.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2014
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