80|PRIME EMOI Project
It is only very recently that clues have been obtained, suggesting that a significant amount of insoluble organic matter was present in solar system objects sufficiently distant from the sun for water to be present in the form of ice (comets, ice satellites of giant planets).
Winners of the 80 | PRIME call of the CNRS (MITI), a team of the Laboratoire Chimie et Interdisciplinarité : Synthèse, Analyse, Modélisation of CEISAM and the Laboratoire de Planétologie et Géosciences coordinate the EMOI project (“Evolution de la Matière Organique Insoluble”). This research program, also conducted in partnership with the Centre de Recherches Pétrographiques et Géochimiques, aims to characterize the transformation of insoluble organic matter “model” in conditions mimicking those present inside the satellites of giant planets (Titan, Ganymede, Callisto).
This consists in carrying out reactions between organic matter, water and hydrated silicates, in the presence or not of iron sulfides, in temperature and pressure ranges, from 100 to 600 °C and 0.01 to 5 GPa, respectively.
The “Evolution of Insoluble Organic Matter” project aims to help in the understanding of outer solar system objects, by answering, in particular, two key questions:
(1) can the destabilization of insoluble organic matter be at the origin of Titan’s atmosphere (N2 and CH4) and can the contribution of CH4 be sufficiently late, knowing that methane has a lifetime of a few tens of millions of years in the atmosphere where it disappears by photochemical degradation ?
(2) Could molecules involved in the chemistry of life, and often considered as biosignatures, have been generated from the pyrolysis of insoluble organic matter, under abiotic conditions, calling into question the biosignature nature of these molecules ?
> Bibliographic reference : Titan’s Interior Structure and Dynamics After the Cassini-Huygens Mission, Christophe Sotin, Klára Kalousová and Gabriel Tobie, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 2021.
> Contact : Christophe Sotin, Professor of Nantes University