chapter  4
20 Pages

◾ Analysis of Extraterrestrial Organic Matter in Murchison Meteorite: A Progress Report

ByPHILIPPE SCHMITT-KOPPLIN, MOURAD HARIR, BASEM KANAWATI, RÉGIS GOUGEON, FRANCO MORITZ, NORBERT HERTKORN, SONNY CLARY, ISTVAN GEBEFÜGI, AND ZELIMIR GABELICA

Extraterrestrial organic matter (EOM) in particular can be considered as end members of pure chemical synthesis because its chemical composition is exclusively governed by abiotic chemical reactions in the absence of terrestrial contamination. Numerous descriptions of organic molecules present in ordinary chondrite-type meteorites and, in particular, in carbonaceous chondrites (chondritic organic matter [COM]) have improved our understanding of the early interstellar chemistry that operated at or just before the birth of our solar system (Pizzarello et al., 2013; Sephton, 2013). However, all molecular analyses were so far targeted towards selected classes of compounds with a particular emphasis on biologically active compounds in the context of prebiotic chemistry (Cleaves, 2013). Here, we demonstrate that a nontargeted molecular analysis of the solvent-accessible organic fraction extracted under mild conditions from Murchison CM2.5 and a few other related CM-type meteorites allows one to extend its indigenous chemical diversity to tens of thousands of dierent molecular compositions and likely millions of diverse structures.