June Monthly Meeting: Tholins: Nature’s Palette, bringing life to worlds? by Dr Peter Culshaw
The main presentation of our June monthly meeting is titled Tholins: Nature’s Palette, bringing life to worlds? by Dr Peter Culshaw (abstract below)
Visitors are welcome to join our face-to-face or online meetings.
Please stay home and attend online if you have:
• fever or symptoms of respiratory infection (cough, sore throat, shortness of breath);
• returned from overseas in the last 14 days;
• been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19: (coronavirus) in the last 14 days.
The success of Solar System exploration can be attributed to both the major scientific discoveries it has brought and equally its ability to capture the imagination of the public whose support is crucial to maintain ongoing funding for future research.
In large part, it is the wonderful colourful images these probes send back to Earth that captures the public imagination, new discoveries bring new colourful worlds which make for stunning images.
Many of these colourful images are more than just rocky bodies, the rich ‘palette’ of colours is due to these worlds being covered with a range of organic compounds which add this vast array of colours; these compounds are predominantly of a type known as ‘tholins’.
Tholins are found throughout a wide range of Solar System bodies, and their chemistry has some very significant issues for potential life on other worlds. Tholins can break down into a number of the building blocks associated with life such as amino acids and nucleobases.
Whilst we currently have no knowledge of life outside of the Earth, an awareness that these building blocks of life are plentiful in our own Solar System and therefore likely throughout the Universe gives cause to think of the possibilities!