Enantiomeric Derivatization on the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) Experiment Onboard ExoMars 2018: How to Unravel the Martian Chirality

Abstract : The origin of homochirality in life on Earth remains unknown. The answer to this question lies in the study of chirality elsewhere in the Solar System. The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) experiment aboard Curiosity established the presence of organic molecules indigenous to a clay-rich sample on Mars. However, SAM does not have the ability to separate between the enantiomers of potential medium- or high- molecular weight organic molecules. One of the wet chemistry experiments to be used in the MOMA instrument of the Exomars mission is designed for the extraction and identification of refractory organic chemical components in solid samples using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS), while keeping the chiral center of the molecules intact. This derivatization technique, using dimethylformamide dimethylacetal (DMF-DMA) as a reagent, will allow MOMA to separate the enantiomers of molecules of interest for astrobiology, such as amino acids, sugars or carboxylic acids. We present here the results of laboratory experiments which display the feasability and limitations of the detection of an enantiomeric excess of complex organic molecules in various analog samples, depending on the mineralogy of the Mars analog solid sample.
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https://hal-insu.archives-ouvertes.fr/insu-01183374
Contributor : Catherine Cardon <>
Submitted on : Friday, August 7, 2015 - 2:34:44 PM
Last modification on : Friday, October 4, 2019 - 1:24:40 AM

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  • HAL Id : insu-01183374, version 1

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Caroline Freissinet, A. Buch, Cyril Szopa, V. Pinnick, M. Morisson, et al.. Enantiomeric Derivatization on the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) Experiment Onboard ExoMars 2018: How to Unravel the Martian Chirality. Astrobiology Science Conference 2015 (AbSciCon 2015 ): Habitability, Habitable Worlds, and Life, USRA Houston, Jun 2015, Chicago, United States. 7668.pdf. ⟨insu-01183374⟩

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