Chemical Reactions, Earth Science, Non-NGSS Articles, Physical Science, S&P 1: Atoms & Molecules (MS), S&P 4: Molecule Traits (HS), Space Systems, SS 2: Big Bang Theory (HS), Structure & Properties of Matter

Beaming Benzene and Naphthalene

N- and O-Heterocycles Produced from the Irradiation of Benzene and Naphthalene in H2O/NH3-Containing Ices

SUMMARY: While pyrimidines have been found on space rocks (carbonaceous chondrites), researchers wanted to see if they can produce different types of heterocyclic molecules in the lab by beaming benzene and naphthalene (both are cyclic organic compounds that can open, substitute one of their atoms with another atom, and close back up). Quite a few cyclic compounds were found in the products (Table 1), but no nucleobases. Researchers concluded that further research needs to be done.

LESSON COMMENTS: This article tries to answer a good question that came out of the Beaming Pyrimidine series: Where did pyrimidines on space rocks come from? Students should take a look at the works cited in this paper if they want to delve deeper into the different studies on making organic products under space-like conditions.

Materese, C. K., Nuevo, M., & Sandford, S. A. (2015). N- Ando-Heterocycles Produced From The Irradiation Of Benzene And Naphthalene In H2O/nh3-Containing Ices. The Astrophysical Journal,800(2), 116. doi:10.1088/0004-637x/800/2/116