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Delivery of Volatiles & Organics: From Earth to Exoearths in the Era of JWST

The Nitrogen Problem: Constraints on the Delivery of Nitrogen to Rocky Planets

Presented by: Daniel Apai (Space Telescope Science Institute)
Category: Science Workshops   Duration: 25 minutes   Broadcast date: September 14, 2010
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Although one of the most abundant elements in the Universe nitrogen is very rare on Earth (ppm levels). In spite of its low concentration in terrestrial environments, nitrogen plays a fundamental role in all ammino acids and proteins and, correspondingly, it is present at highly enriched levels in all living organisms. In this talk I will briefly review the constraints posed by the distributions of nitrogen and its isotopes in primitive Solar System materials on its chemical evolution. I will explore the journey of nitrogen and different possible pathways from the interstellar medium through protoplanetary disks to forming planets. I will also discuss if and how some of the pathways may be affected by the stellar irradiation and what roles JWST and ALMA can play in constraining nitrogen-chemistry in other forming planetary systems.