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Received Date: October 21, 2016; Accepted Date: February 2, 2017; Published Date: February 8, 2017
Citation: Michaelian K, Simeonov A (2017) Thermodynamic Explanation for the Cosmic Ubiquity of Organic Pigments. Astrobiol Outreach 5:156. doi:10.4172/2332-2519.1000156
Copyright: © 2017 Michaelian K, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
There is solid evidence for the occurrence of large amounts of organic material in the cosmos, particularly in the form of aromatic compounds. These molecules can be found on the surface of Earth and Mars, in the atmospheres of the larger planets and on many of their satellites, on asteroids, comets, meteorites, the atmospheres of red giant stars, interstellar nebulae, and in the spiral arms of galaxies. Many of these environments are expected to be of low temperature and pressure, implying that the Gibb’s free energy for the formation of these complex molecules should be positive and large, suggesting that their existence could only be attributed to non-equilibrium thermodynamic processes. In this article we first review the evidence for the abundance of these molecules in the cosmos and then describe how the ubiquity can be explained from within the framework of non-equilibrium thermodynamics on the basis of the catalytic properties of these pigment molecules in dissipating photons of the ultraviolet and visible emission spectra of neighboring stars, leading to greater local entropy production. A relation between the maximum wavelength of absorption of these organic pigments and the corresponding stellar photon environment provides a guide to determining which aromatic compounds are most probable in a given stellar neighborhood, a postulate that can be verified on Earth. It is suggested that at least some of the baryonic dark matter may be associated with these molecules which emit in the extreme infrared with many, but weak, emission lines, thus so far escaping detection. This thermodynamic explanation for the ubiquity of these organic molecules also has relevance to the possibility of life, both as we know it, and as we may not know it, throughout the universe.