ArticlesOrganic Chemistry

Search for Organic Material in Lunar Fines by Mass Spectrometry

Science  30 Jan 1970:
Vol. 167, Issue 3918, pp. 755-757
DOI: 10.1126/science.167.3918.755


Three kinds of experiments were performed in an effort to detect and identify organic compounds present in the lunar material (fines 10,086): (i) vaporization of the volatilizable components directly into the ion source of a high-resolution mass spectrometer, and (ii and iii) extraction of the material with organic solvents before and after dissolving most of the inorganic substrate in hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acid. The extracts were investigated by a combination of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Although a number of organic compounds or compound types have been detected, none appears to be indigenous to the lunar surface.