Origin and Evolution of Prebiotic Organic Matter As Inferred from the Tagish Lake Meteorite

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Science  10 Jun 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6035, pp. 1304-1307
DOI: 10.1126/science.1203290

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The complex suite of organic materials in carbonaceous chondrite meteorites probably originally formed in the interstellar medium and/or the solar protoplanetary disk, but was subsequently modified in the meteorites’ asteroidal parent bodies. The mechanisms of formation and modification are still very poorly understood. We carried out a systematic study of variations in the mineralogy, petrology, and soluble and insoluble organic matter in distinct fragments of the Tagish Lake meteorite. The variations correlate with indicators of parent body aqueous alteration. At least some molecules of prebiotic importance formed during the alteration.

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