Oxygen and Nitrogen Isotopes in the Solar Nebula and Protostellar Cores: Experiments and Modeling

Project: Research project

Project Details


The proposed work seeks to reconcile the results of the NASA Genesis mission to measure the isotopic composition of the solar wind and Sun, with a long-standing problem in meteoritics, namely the origin of the unusual oxygen isotopes in refractory inclusions (CAIs) in the oldest meteorites. The leading hypothesis connecting these two measurements is how photolysis of CO in the solar nebula created a reservoir of water of the needed isotopic composition to explain the CAI mixing line connecting the Sun and everything else in the solar system. Here, we are proposing to construct the most accurate isotopic CO spectroscopic models possible, so that a proper comparison can be made between the CO photolysis theory and the meteorite and solar wind data. The work combines synchrotron measurements, spectroscopic modeling and photochemical modeling to relate CO photolysis to the oxygen isotope composition of the solar system. The work is significant because it can reveal key aspects of the formation environment of our solar system, not accessible by any other method. It will also help to understand why the Sun and Earth are so different in their oxygen isotope compositions, and so ties in strongly to Genesis.
Effective start/end date1/16/141/15/18


  • NASA: Goddard Space Flight Center: $343,603.00


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