Cold-trapped organic compounds at the poles of the Moon and Mercury: Implications for origins

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Abstract

[1] We have calculated evaporation rates for a range of organic compounds that may be cold-trapped at the poles of the Moon and Mercury. Organics vary widely in their volatilities and thus can be stable to evaporation at higher and lower temperatures than water. The detection of cold-trapped organics would point to volatile delivery by impacts, as comets and asteroids are the only plausible sources for organic molecules. The characterization of cold-trapped organics on both bodies may provide constraints on the thermal evolution of cold traps over time and the history of volatiles in the inner solar system.

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