Axis 1: Study on the reactivity and molecular evolution of organic matter

The studies on this subject aim to answer the following questions :

- What are the processes that enable the organic matter to become complex in extraterrestrial environments ?

- How far can this complexity go and what are the physicochemical key parameters ?

- What is the evolution of this complex organic matter when exposed to the diversity of energy sources in the different environments considered ?

For this, a first laboratory approach is to perform experimental developments that allow the measurement of the essential physicochemical parameters for the construction and development of theoretical models, as well as the identification of spectroscopic parameters in order to detect new compounds in extraterrestrial environments.

As an illustration we present the experimental program "SETUP", developed in recent years. The objective of this project is a better understanding of the physicochemical processes in Titan’s atmosphere. To do this, representative simulations will be performed and associated chemical schemes are developed. Simulations of Titan’s atmosphere consist of a gaseous reaction mixture submitted, in a specific reactor, to a cold plasma to disassociate the molecular nitrogen (process that occurs in the upper atmosphere), and/or a source of UV radiation.

Views of the experimental device SETUP dedicated to the study of the physical chemistry of Titan’s atmosphere.


These multi-year programs are funded by various agencies/programs: the National Program of Planetary Science (INSU/CNRS), the interdisciplinary program EPOV, the French Space Agency (CNES), the region of Ile de France …

Other laboratory studies :

- SCOOP Program (determination of spectroscopic parameters)

- OREGOC Program (evolution of primitive bodies and comets)

- MOMIE Program (evolution of organics at Mars’s surface)

- PLASMA Program (Titan’s organic aerosols)

- EXPOSE Program (photochemistry of organic compounds in low Earth orbit)

View of the International Space Station. The AMINO Experience, coordinated by LISA is on the EXPOSE-R module highlighted by the circle.