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Dix Planetary Science Seminar

Tuesday, February 19, 2019
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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South Mudd 365
Using Site-Specific Carbon Isotope Ratios to Constrain the Formation Pathways of Alanine on Murchison Meteorite
Elle Chimiak, Graduate Student, Geochemistry, Caltech,

Carbonaceous chondrites contain various prebiotic compounds including nucleobases, carboxylic acids, and amino acids.  Consequently, these meteorites might have seeded earth or other planetary bodies with the compounds required for life.  Alanine is one of the most abundant chiral amino acids found on CM2 meteorites; however, its formation mechanism still debated.  I used novel techniques to study the site-specific carbon isotope structure of alanine on a sample of Murchison meteorites, one of the most widely studied CM2 chondrites.  Using these data, I was able to create a model of the reactions that create various organics including alanine.