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Astrochemical Complexity in Planetary Systems

ACS Spring 2021 National Meeting (Virtual), 5-16 April 2021

Abstract Submission Opens 16 December 2020, closes 19 January 2021.

Dr. Martin A. Cordiner (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)
Prof. Christopher J. Bennett (University of Central Florida)


Through the use of increasingly sensitive remote and in-situ observational techniques, our knowledge regarding the degree of molecular complexity in interstellar and planetary environments has dramatically increased over the last few decades, with important implications for our understanding of life's chemical origins. The ongoing development of new spacecraft missions, multi-wavelength, ground-based observatories and pioneering laboratory techniques promises significant advances in our knowledge of chemical complexity in the Universe in the coming decades. Understanding and interpreting these new data requires dedicated computational and modeling efforts, which ultimately produce new insights on the origin and evolution of complex molecules, including species of possible prebiotic relevance, in planetary systems. Analytical techniques are becoming increasingly sensitive, with several methods offering: i) sub-femtomolar detection levels, ii) spectroscopy at nanometer spatial resolution (i.e. beyond the diffraction limit, such as nanoIR), iii) emerging 3D tomography techniques approaching atomic resolution, and iv) novel correlated multi-technique or multi-dimensional technique approaches. Since astronomical samples are in very limited supply, it is essential that the developers of these techniques collaborate/coordinate with planetary scientists to maximize the utility of this work. Accordingly, this symposium aims to bring together astrochemists and planetary scientists with expertise in observations, sample analysis, laboratory experiments, planetary missions, and development of novel analytical techniques, theoretical modeling, and quantum chemical approaches. The aim is to identify frontier research areas and foster new, interdisciplinary collaborations to promote a deeper understanding of how and where chemical complexity may arise on planetary surfaces.

Session Topics:

  • Chemical Complexity from the ISM to Disks: Observations and Models
  • Experimental and Theoretical Techniques for Interstellar/Planetary Chemistry
  • The Outer Solar System, Comets, Icy Rings, and Satellites
  • Inner Solar System, Asteroids and Giant Planets
  • Organics in Meteorites
  • Organics on the Primordial Earth
  • Emerging Techniques for Sample Analysis
Confirmed Invited Speakers:

  • Kathrin Altwegg
  • Steven Benner
  • Jennifer Bergner
  • Queenie Chan
  • Steven Charnley
  • James Cleaves
  • Hervé Cottin
  • Jamie Elsila
  • Jay Forsythe
  • Rob Garrod
  • Ryan Fortenberry
  • Chao He
  • Amanda Hendrix
  • Reggie Hudson
  • Yoko Kebukawa
  • Michael McCarthy
  • Brett McGuire
  • Claire Pirim
  • Scott Sandford
  • Jennifer Stern
  • Amanda Stockton
  • Hunter Waite
  • Susanna Widicus Weaver
  • Mehmet Yesiltas