Abstract

ORganics Exposure in Orbit (OREOcube)

The OREOcube International Space Station experiment investigates [the] effects of solar and cosmic radiation on organic molecules in contact with inorganic substrates. The organic molecules and inorganic substrates were deposited as optically thin films on magnesium fluoride (MgF2) and aluminum oxide (Al2O3) windows. The organic samples include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), porphyrins and quinones. The inorganic substrates include titanium dioxide, a known photocatalyst. By measuring changes in the UV-Vis-NIR spectra of samples as a function of time while mounted on an external ISS platform, OREOcube measures, in real time, critical kinetic and mechanistic details of these organics. The data will allow for a greater understanding of the role solid mineral surfaces play in the (photo)chemical evolution and distribution of organics in the interstellar medium and on planetary surfaces. During this Student Teacher Assisted Research (STAR) internship, titanium dioxide thin films will be prepared on sapphire windows and characterized as potential flight substrates. After characterization, organic samples are deposited on the titanium dioxide substrates. The samples are then hermetically sealed in a controlled environment to make OREOcube flight cells for the ISS experiment.

Mentor

Dr. Richard Quinn

Lab site

SETI Institute

Funding Acknowledgement

This material is based upon work supported by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0952013. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation or the National Science Foundation. This project has also been made possible with support of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The STAR program is administered by the Cal Poly Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education (CESaME) on behalf of the California State University (CSU).

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URL: http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/star/214

 

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