On the Applicability of the Green Chemistry Principles to Sustainability of Organic Matter on Asteroids
The connection between astrobiology and green chemistry represents a new approach to sustainability of organic matter on asteroids or similar bodies. Green chemistry is chemistry which is environmentally friendly. One obvious way for chemistry to be green is to use water as a solvent, instead of more toxic organic solvents. Many astrobiological reactions occur in the aqueous medium, for example in the prebiotic soup or during the aqueous alteration period on asteroids. Thus any advances in the green organic reactions in water are directly applicable to astrobiology. Another green chemistry approach is to abolish use of toxic solvents. This can be accomplished by carrying out the reactions without a solvent in the solventless or solid-state reactions. The advances in these green reactions are directly applicable to the chemistry on asteroids during the periods when water was not available. Many reactions on asteroids may have been done in the solid mixtures. These reactions may be responsible for a myriad of organic compounds that have been isolated from the meteorites.
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