Buckyballs Found to Contain Extraterrestrial Gases

By Keith Cowing
March 20, 2000
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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.”

° NASA Press Release

° University of Hawaii press release

° Astrochemistry, SpaceRef Directory

° Astrochemistry Lab, NASA Ames Research Center

° Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Rochester

° Cosmochemistry 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.