Evidence for Compounds Hydrolyzable to Amino Acids in Aqueous Extracts of Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 Lunar Fines

Science  30 Jul 1971:
Vol. 173, Issue 3995, pp. 433-435
DOI: 10.1126/science.173.3995.433


Hydrolyzates of aqueous extracts of Apollo 11 fines, an Apollo 12 trench sample, and an Apollo 12 surface sample have been analyzed on an ultrasensitive amino acid analyzer. The total content of amino acids recovered ranged from 20 to 70 parts per billion of lunar soil. Amino acids are not recovered by the direct hydrolysis of lunar fines, presumably because of decomposition in the presence of the large excess of lunar mineral. As judged by retention time, glycine is the dominant amino acid found; alanine is secondarily present in each case in the profile. Only a few amino acids have been recorded in each analysis. The pattern is relatively consistent in the samples from the three locations; the pattern from either hydrolyzed or unhydrolyzed extracts differs markedly from that of hydrolyzed or unhydrolyzed handprints. The evidence is not consistent with contamination of the kind expected by many investigators.