On the survivability of an enantiomeric excess of amino acids in comet nuclei during the decay of26Al and other radionuclides
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We present a computer model calculation for the racemization of a possible excess of amino acids in the icy fraction of comet nuclei bring about by ionizing radiation released during the decay of26Al,40K,235U,238U and232Th. The model takes into account a total of 110 chemical reactions, of which 91 are needed to explain the radiation chemical processing of the major constituents of comet nuclei (Navarro-Gonzálezet al., 1992) and 19 are necessary to simulate the radiolysis of glycine/alanine mixtures in aqueous solutions (Navarro-Gonzálezet al., 1994 and 1996). It is predicted that an enantiomeric excess of alanine would not be destroyed by radioracemization during the decay of embedded radionuclides. Nevertheless, this enantiomeric excess could be attenuated by the formation of racemic amino acids in the interior of comet nuclei as a result of the radiation-induced polymerization of HCN.
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