Astrochemistry: The Cradle of Life

This seminar is part of the EAI on-line seminars

By Nigel J. Mason,
University of Kent, United Kingdom

04 MAY 2021, 16:00 CET

Astrobiology has two principal goals: first, to learn how life began and evolved on Earth, and second, to establish whether life exists elsewhere in the universe. Understanding the cosmic evolution of molecules that carry the elements C, H, O, P, S and N is central to this quest. 

Today we know that there is a rich and complex chemistry pervading the Interstellar medium and that this is retained amidst star and planet formation being observed in cometary bodies. However, the mechanisms by which such molecules are synthesized and the complexity that can be achieved remains subject of considerable uncertainty and provides a challenge to both the laboratory and modelling communities. 

In this talk I will review what we know, what we need to know and why we have not made the progress we expected in the last decade. I will then discuss some ideas of how we can overcome current challenges and achieve these two goals.