The evolution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons under simulated inner asteroid conditionsOPEN ACCESS 

Claudia‐Corina Giese, Inge Loes, Ten Kate, Oliver Plümper, Helen E. King, Christoph Lenting, Yang Liu, Alexander G. G. M. Tielens

Meteoritics & Planetary Science
First Published: 14 July 2019


“Large polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are an important component of the interstellar medium. PAHs have been identified in the soluble and insoluble matter of carbonaceous chondrites (CCs). Here, we study the evolution of PAHs under conditions relevant to the interiors of asteroids and compare our results to PAHs observed in CCs. We have performed long‐term and short‐term hydrothermal experiments, in which we exposed PAH‐mineral mixture analogs of meteorites to temperature conditions representative of those predicted for asteroids interiors. Our results show that small PAHs with melting points within the aqueous alteration temperature of CCs form carbonaceous spherules in the presence of water. In this work, we describe the microstructure and morphology of these spherules. We discuss the similarities and differences compared to globules isolated from CCs.”