Kinetics and thermochemistry of carbonate mineral decomposition under conditions relevant to planetology and astrobiology.

D'Elia M., Fonti S., Longo S., Mancarella F., Micca Longo G., Orofino V.

Comunicazione
III - Astrofisica
Aula 32B-3 - Mercoledì 19 h 09:00 - 13:00
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One of the most exciting perspectives of physics and chemistry is that the molecules discovered in Space may have had a very important role in the origin of Life on Earth. This perspective is one core subject of Astrobiology. Life-related molecules must reach the Earth surface associated to solid particles whose mineral composition provides the necessary thermal protection to the high temperatures reached during the atmospheric entry process. The most interesting candidates are Ca, Mg and Fe carbonates. We discuss a model for extra-terrestrial grain entry in the atmosphere which takes into account the thermophysical properties of calcium carbonate (CaCO${}_{3}$) and its decomposition to calcium oxide (CaO) and carbon dioxide (CO${}_{2}$). The relation between biotic/abiotic nature of the carbonate mineral is also addressed.

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