Whitepaper #054 submitted to the Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey 2023-2032. Topics: laboratory studies; life and prebiotic organics; ocean worlds
We address whether astrobiology investigations can be made at hypervelocity, i.e., does biosignature detection have a speed limit? Recent work shows that the best speed to volatilize and ionize biomolecules in plume ice grains is 4–6 km/s. NASA should continue to invest in facilities, modeling and mass spectral libraries to understand this fully.