Astrobiology, Planetary Science

Washington, DC — Molecules containing large chains of carbon and hydrogen--the building blocks of all life on Earth--have been the targets of missions to Mars from Viking to the present day.

Astrobiology, Planetary Science

Washington, DC—Meteorites hold a record of the chemicals that existed in the early Solar System and that may have been a crucial source of the organic compounds that gave rise to life on Earth.

Geochemistry, Planetary Science

Washington, DC—Formaldehyde, a poison and a common molecule throughout the universe, is likely the source of the solar system’s organic carbon solids—abundant in both comets and asteroids.

Astrobiology, Planetary Science

Washington, DC— Up to now scientists thought that the trace amounts of carbon on the surface of the Moon came from the solar wind. Now researchers at the Carnegie Institution’s Geophysical Laboratory have detected and dated Moon carbon in the form of graphite—the sooty stuff of pencil lead—which survived from the late heavy bombardment era 3.8 billion years ago.

Planetary Science

Washington, DC—Scientists at the Carnegie Institution’s Geophysical Laboratory, with colleagues, have discovered a much higher water content in the Moon’s interior than previous studies.