The Center for Astrochemical Studies (CAS@MPE)
Diffuse clouds in our Galaxy contract and fragment, forming dense clouds within which young stellar objects form. Young stars are surrounded by a disk of gas and dust where planets assemble. The organic material from the interstellar clouds is preserved and reprocessed in these disks, as testified by the organic molecules in comets and pre-biotic material in carbonaceous chondrites and interplanetary dust particles. Life has emerged on Earth and maybe in other planets/moons in our Solar System and beyond. When stars reach the end of their lives, they go through a stage of mass loss, enriching the interstellar medium with heavy elements, which will then be incorporated in future generations of stars and planets.
Understanding this cycle is fundamental to understand how stars and planets form, how organic material forms and evolves and how life originates. Astrochemistry, theoretical work, experiments and the cutting-edge instrumentation available today and in the near future provide the tools to unveil our astrochemical origins.
We plan to use these tools.