I. Volatilization-quadrupole mass spectrometric analysis of Apollo 11, 12, and 14 lunar samples. II. Search for organic compounds in simulated lunar and Martian atmospheres



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The first part of this study involves the mass spectrometric analysis of the volatiles released upon temperature programmed thermal treatment of Apollo 11, 12, and 14 lunar fines and rock samples. Most of the water and carbon dioxide released at lower temperature are shown to be the results of atmospheric adsorption. The fraction of water released above 400[degrees]C may have been formed on the lunar surface due to proton irradiation. High temperature carbon dioxide may be partly due to the decomposition of light metal carbonates or cometary origin. Temperature release profiles of carbon monoxide and Na revealed that these gases are not of terrestrial origin. A common source or reaction such as the one between NaO and C appear probable because of the similarity in the thermal release pattern of these two gases. In general, behavior of HaO, CO, CO2 and Na was very much the same in all of the samples analyzed during this study. The second part of this investigation constituted the search for organic and biogenic compounds using electric discharge and ultraviolet light as the sources of energy in simulated lunar and Martian atmospheres, respectively. The aqueous phase analysis in the electric discharge experiment did not show the formation of any new compound as a result of the action of the electric discharge. Some hydrocarbons detected were shown to be formed by the action of thermal energy associated with the electric discharge. An active atmosphere of Mars (CO and H20) when exposed to ultraviolet irradiations showed the formation of carbon dioxide only. A reducing atmosphere was thought to be essential for the formation of biogenic and organic compounds. In order to study the possible indigenous nature of amino acids in the lunar samples, acid hydrolysis of liquefied HCN was carried out. Some of the reaction products identified were alanine, glycine, aspartic acid, and glutamic acid. With appropriate conditions of pH, the formation of amino acids from indigenous C, H, and N in their elemental forms is possible. However, our conclusion was that there are not suitable conditions of pH that would hydrolyse HCN into amino acids or their precursors.