Enantiomeric and Isotopic Analysis of Sugar Derivatives in Carbonaceous Meteorites

Grant #: NNX09AC91A
Senior Scientist: Jen Blank

The work described here will focus on the gas and liquid chromatographic analysis and mass spectrometric analysis of sugar derivatives and related compounds identified recently by Dr. Cooper. The results of this study will provide insight into the abiotic synthesis and evolution of organic molecules in space, a topic of particular interest to the Origin of Life community. An additional component of this cooperative agreement provides funds to support the participation of Dr. Blank as a science team member of ChemCam, the LIBS instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory mission scheduled for 2009 launch. Dr. Blank will work in collaboration with Dr. Chris McKay (NASA/Ames), a co-Investigator on the ChemCam project, to investigate detection limits of LIBS applied to carbonates and organic compounds.