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Carbon and Nitrogen Isotopic Anomalies in an Anhydrous Interplanetary Dust Particle

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Science  27 Feb 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5662, pp. 1355-1358
DOI: 10.1126/science.1093283

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Abstract

Because hydrogen and nitrogen isotopic anomalies in interplanetary dust particles have been associated with carbonaceous material, the lack of similar anomalies in carbon has been a major conundrum. We report here the presence of a 13C depletion associated with a 15N enrichment in an anhydrous interplanetary dust particle. Our observations suggest that the anomalies are carried by heteroatomic organic compounds. Theoretical models indicate that low-temperature formation of organic compounds in cold interstellar molecular clouds can produce carbon and nitrogen fractionations, but it remains to be seen whether the specific effects observed here can be reproduced.

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