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Organic Matter and The Moon by Carl Sagan Panel on Extra-Terrestrial Life for the Armed Forces-NRC Committee on Bio-Astronautics Publication 757 National Academy of SciencesâNational Research Council Washington, D. C. 1961
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 61-6OO64 Univ. MlcrsWms HÂ°-i W CXjP .O 0 Q
PREFACE The need for a critical examination of the possibilities in- herent in lunar exploration for furthering our knowledge of both current and evolutionary biology has become increasingly apparent. We therefore have sought such a review and herewith present it in the hope that it will inspire the scientific community to devise new and critical experiments in preparation for this imminent explora- tion. MELVIN CALVIN, Chairman Panel 2, Extra-Terrestrial Life Armed Forces-NRC Committee on Bio-Astronautics March 15, 1961 lii
CONTENTS Page I. INTRODUCTION 1 II. PRODUCTION OF ORGANIC MATTER IN EARLY LUNAR HISTORY 2 A. General Theory 2 B. Historical Development of Lunar Gaseous Envelopes 3 C. Diffusion Times of Synthesized Molecules ... 5 D. Quantum Yields 9 E. Ultraviolet Fluxes and Solar Evolution 11 F. Lifetime of Secondary Lunar Atmosphere .... 13 G. Surface Densities of Deposited Organic Matter. . 14 H. Protection of Deposited Molecules and Present Location of Lunar Deposits of Organic Matter . . 16 I. Conclusions and Suggested Experiments 17 III. REPORTS OF GAS CLOUDS ON THE LUNAR SURFACE 19 IV. LUNAR SUBSURFACE TEMPERATURES 22 V. POSSIBILITY OF AN INDIGENEOUS LUNAR PARABIOLOGY 24 VI. SURVIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY TERRESTRIAL MICROORGANISMS ON THE MOON 26 A. Temperature Lability 26 B. Deflection of Incident Charged Particles By the Lunar Magnetic Field 27 C. Attenuation of Incident Radiation by the Present Lunar Atmosphere 28 D. Adopted Fluxes, Mean Lethal Doses, and Absorption Coefficients 28 E. Survival Times 31 F. Dissociation of Nonliving Organic Matter .... 33
VII. BIOLOGICAL CONTAMINATION OF THE MOON . . 34 A. Possible Kinds of Biological Contamination: Biomixy, Sapromixy, Phagomixy, and Ecomixy 34 B. Distribution of Vehicle Impact Products .... 35 C. Evaluation of Contamination Possibilities ... 36 D. Decontamination Recommendations for Unmanned and for Manned Vehicles 38 VIII. SUMMARY 40 IX. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 42 X. APPENDIX: SURVIVAL TIME OF AN IRRADIATED POPULATION 43 XI. BIBLIOGRAPHY ................. 45 VI