Chemistry of Ice Induced by Bombardment with Energetic Charged Particles
The presence of intense fluxes of charged particles impinging on the solid surfaces of planets, satellites, and rings in the Outer Solar System, produces a number of effects whose knowledge appears to be essential for understanding the evolution of these objects. This type of research is based on laboratory simulations of relevant targets (e.g. molecular solids) bombarded with charged particles under physical conditions more or less similar to the astrophysical ones. Here I review the experimental results obtained, in recent years, on physical-chemical effects induced on frozen gases (CO, CO2, CH4, H2O, etc.) and mixtures simulating ice targets in space (frosts on planets, satellites, comets, etc.). In particular I discuss the ion induced formation of new species. Some properties of the organic refractory residues left over by ion-irradiation are also presented. In the Solar System, frozen surfaces are continuously bombarded by energetic ions from solar wind and flares, planetary magnetospheres and galactic cosmic rays. Many applications of the above type of experiments have been discussed in recent years and are here reviewed. These include modifications undergone by comets and satellites in the outer Solar System.
KeywordsOort Cloud Outer Solar System Planetary Magnetosphere Planetary Object Uranian Satellite
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