Organic matter on the Earth's Moon

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Carbonaceous matter on the surfaces of black pyroclastic beads, collected from Shorty crater during the Apollo 17 mission, represents the first identification of complex organic material associated with any lunar sample. We report the chemical, physical and isotopic properties of this organic matter that together support a pre-terrestrial origin. We suggest the most probable source is through the accretion of exogenous meteoritic kerogen from micrometeorite impacts into the lunar regolith. Abiotic organic matter has been continuously delivered to the surfaces of the terrestrial planets and their moons by accretion of asteroidal and cometary material. Determining the nature, distribution and evolution of such matter in the lunar regolith has important implications for understanding the prebiotic chemical inventory of the terrestrial planets. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.




Thomas-Keprta, K. L., Clemett, S. J., Messenger, S., Ross, D. K., Le, L., Rahman, Z., … Peabody, W. (2014). Organic matter on the Earth’s Moon. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 134, 1–15.

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