Photochemical Stability and Reactivity of Prebiotic Molecules Under Ceres-Like Conditions

Jessica M Weber

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

Ceres is a dwarf planet of interest to astrobiology due to detections of organics by the Dawn spacecraft. In order to better understand possible processes on Ceres and plan for future mission concepts, we experimentally tested the irradiation of prebiotic organic material (including alpha keto acids and amino acids) to constrain their stability and reactivity under planetary analog conditions. Both the pure organic material and organic-mineral mixes were explored. We identified reactivity under Ceres-like conditions via mass spectrometry and provide implications and considerations for future mission concepts.