Presented talk at the American Chemical Society National Meeting

Nitrogen Cycling - Summers SSX
Nitrogen Cycling - Summers SSX

Dr. David Summers presented a paper at the American Chemical Society National Meeting entitled: Abiotic fixation of nitrogen on terrestrial planets: Experimental results and their implications. Abstract: The abiotic fixation of nitrogen on the early Earth and other terrestrial planets is important for habitability, life, and geochemistry. Using Mars as an example, an atmospheric pressure below the triple-point leaves Mars unable to support liquid water (and life) on its surface. How Mars lost its nitrogen is unknown. On possibility is abiotic fixation into the crust. Finally, without nitrogen, life as we know it could not arise. A source of nitrogen in a biochemically accessible form is necessary for the origin and early evolution of life. Eventually, a source of reduced nitrogen (ammonia or organic nitrogen) is necessary. We present experimental results on the chemistry of gaseous NO (which would be formed from shock heating) to aqueous products such as ammonia and nitrate/nitrite. We find that such chemistry can go via three different pathways; through HNO, through NO2, or direct by reduction of NO. [Caption of figure. Summary or abiotic nitrogen fixation pathways on terrestrial planets.]