37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 33 Mars' Atmosphere
Poster, Tuesday, September 6, 2005, 6:00-7:15pm, Music Recital Room

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[33.29] Formation of Methane in Comet Impacts on Planets*

W. M. Howard (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

We study the formation of methane in comet impacts with using chemical equilibrium calculations coupled with arbitrary lagrange-eulerain (ALE) hydrodynamics. That is, we study the chemical transformation of comet material as it impacts solar-system planets and moons. For certain pressure and temperature regimes, in chemical equilibrium, a significant amount of the water, hydrogen, carbon and carbon dioxide can be transformed into methane. We relate these regimes to the shock conditions as might occur in comet impacts on planets and moons, as well as, the post-impact vapor clouds. We discuss the implication of our results for comets as a possible source of abiotic methane on Mars, Titan, and Europa, as well as, the various uncertainties in our model.

* This work was performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by University of California, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract W-7405-Eng-48.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #3
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.