Buckyballs Found to Contain Extraterrestrial Gases

By Keith Cowing
March 31, 2000
Filed under

Buckyball According to NASA’s Ames
Research Center “Extraterrestrial gases, including helium, are trapped in
“buckyball” molecules in a layer of sedimentary clay found in many places
on Earth, according to a paper to be published March 28, 2000, in the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The discovery provides a new tool for tracing asteroid and comet impacts in
Earth’s geological and biological records. A University of Hawaii
geochemist and
her colleagues, including a NASA scientist, found gases that did not
originate on Earth inside buckyballs, or fullerene carbon molecules. “The
buckyballs containing the gases arrived on Earth about 65 million years ago
during an asteroid impact that scientists theorize ended the age of the
dinosaurs. The clay layer that formed from fallout of the impact debris was
globally distributed,” [NASA’s Ted] Bunch explained.”

° Fullerenes: An extraterrestrial carbon carrier phase for noble gases, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (abstract)

° NASA Press

° University of
Hawaii press release

° Astrochemistry, SpaceRef Directory

° Astrochemistry Lab, NASA Ames Research Center

° Department of Earth and
Environmental Sciences
, University of Rochester

° Co
smochemistry Program
, University of Hawaii

° New form of pure
carbon found in Mexican meteorite; possible player in origin of life
University of Hawaii press release (July 1999)

° Buckyball Page, SUNY Stony Brook

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.