Liquid-like behavior of UV-irradiated interstellar ice analog at low temperatures

Sci Adv. 2017 Sep 29;3(9):eaao2538. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aao2538. eCollection 2017 Sep.


Interstellar ice is believed to be a cradle of complex organic compounds, commonly found within icy comets and interstellar clouds, in association with ultraviolet (UV) irradiation and subsequent warming. We found that UV-irradiated amorphous ices composed of H2O, CH3OH, and NH3 and of pure H2O behave like liquids over the temperature ranges of 65 to 150 kelvin and 50 to 140 kelvin, respectively. This low-viscosity liquid-like ice may enhance the formation of organic compounds including prebiotic molecules and the accretion of icy dust to form icy planetesimals under certain interstellar conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't