Ice Irradiation Experiments

Icy bodies unprotected by atmospheres, such as interstellar icy grains or icy moons like Enceladus and Europa, are constantly subjected to irradiation, which induces chemical changes in both the surface and bulk phase. These chemical changes often include the formation of complex molecules, some of which are prebiotically relevant.

Space Weathering Simulations

Primitive airless bodies like asteroids and meteoroids serve as mineralogical time capsules to the time of the solar system’s formation. However, space weathering can heavily alter their composition and morphology, complicating their analysis. Elucidating the effects of space weathering on these bodies is therefore essential to understanding their history.

Meteorites and Prebiotic Chemistry

Since the discovery of amino acids in Murchison, hundreds of meteorites have been found to contain a massive inventory of biochemically important molecules. But how did these molecules form? Were they delivered to primordial Earth in significant amounts? And could meteoritic surfaces have played a catalytic role in the eventual origin of life?

Computational Chemistry

The unique conditions of space provide an environment where a variety of exotic molecules can form, persist, and react in uncharted pathways. Using quantum chemistry to compute the spectroscopic properties of these molecules enables their observational detection without having to overcome experimental challenges.