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Plume Grain Sampling at Hypervelocity: Implications for Astrobiology Investigations

Whitepaper #054 submitted to the Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey 2023-2032. Topics: laboratory studies; life and prebiotic organics; ocean worlds

Published onMar 18, 2021
Plume Grain Sampling at Hypervelocity: Implications for Astrobiology Investigations

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.


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