Space life sciences

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 383–403 | Cite as

Distribution and isotopic abundance of biogenic elements in lunar samples

  • I. R. Kaplan
Session III. Survey

Abstract

A review of the abundance of six biologically important elements (H, C, N, O. P and S) demonstrates that they are present in trace amounts only in lunar matter analysed to date. To the endogenous lunar content, elements are contributed by solar wind irradiation and meteorite impacts. However, it is not yet possible to determine the relative importance of the three sources. Enrichment of the heavy isotopes, C13, O18, S34 suggest that these elements may be lost from the lunar surface by ‘hydrogen stripping’ (from solar wind protons) as volatile gases. The general lack of water, suggests that organic synthesis could not easily be accomplished in lunar rocks. High energy irradiation of the lunar surface may result in rapid destruction of organic matter not protected by a silicate matrix. It is apparent from present data available, that the ambient lunar surface could not support metabolism of known microorganisms.

Keywords

Solar Wind Organic Synthesis Energy Irradiation General Lack Lunar Surface 

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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. R. Kaplan
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Geology and Institute of Geophysics and Planetary PhysicsUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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