Discoveries on the Earth’s Moon and Mars

On the JSC Engineering, Technology and Science (JETS) contract, ERC employee Simon Clemett recently co-authored two manuscripts that have been published by Sciencemag.org and BBC news.  One of these has implications for the Moon and the other for Mars.

MoonThe first is entitled “Organic Matter on the Earth’s Moon”  by Kathie Thomas-Keprta, Simon Clemett et al. This is the first report of organic matter detected  in any lunar material in over 40 years of studying Apollo samples. The authors suggest this organic matter was added to the lunar regolith from organic-rich impactors, such as meteorites and interplanetary dust particles. This is important because this organic matter may be more primitive and pristine because it was not heated during its transit to the Moon (in contrast to meteorites collected on Earth, which have been heated as they pass through the atmosphere).  Please click the following link to read an article from sciencemag.org about this amazing discovery: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/344/6180/twil.full.  If you would like to read the full manuscript please click the following link to the attachment Organic Matter on the Earth’s Moon.

MarsThe second manuscript is entitled “Preserved Flora and Organics in Impact Melt Breccias” by P.H. Schultz, R. Scott Harris, S.J. Clemett, K.L. Thomas-Keprta and M. Zárate. This manuscript describes how plant matter can be preserved in terrestrial impact glass, suggesting impact glass may also harbor evidence of other fossilized life forms, such as microbes. If true, this type of sample may be vital in the search for extraterrestrial life, particularly in the case of Mars.   Please click the following link to see lovely images Simon Clemett and Kathie Thomas-Keprta captured and learn more about this discovery: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-27075508.  If you would like to read the full manuscript please click the following link to the attachment Preserved Flora and Organixs in Impact Melt Breccias.

Thanks to Kathie Thomas-Keprta and Simon Clemett for the information!