A wide variety of organic compounds have been found in space, and their relevance to the origin of life is discussed. Interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) are most promising carriers of extraterrestrial organic compounds, but presence of bioorganic compounds are controversial since they are so small and were collected in the terrestrial biosphere. In addition, IDPs are directly exposed to cosmic and solar radiation. Thus, it is important to evaluate the stability of organics in IDPs in space environment. We are planning a novel astrobiology mission named Tanpopo by utilizing the Exposed Facility of Japan Experimental Module (JEM/EF) of the International Space Station (ISS). Two types of experiments will be done: Capture experiments and exposure experiments. In the exposure experiments, organics and microbes will be exposed to the space environments to examine possible alteration of organic compounds and survivability of microbes. Selected targets for the exposure experiments of organic compounds are as follows: Amino acids (glycine and isovaline), their possible precursors (hydantoin and 5-ethyl-5-methyl hydantoin) and complex precursors “CAW” synthesized from a mixture of carbon monoxide, ammonia and water by proton irradiation. In addition to them, powder of the Murchison meteorite will be exposed to examine possible alteration of meteoritic organics in space. We will show the results of preparatory experiments on ground by using a UV lamp, a 60Co source, synchrotron facilities, and a heavy ion irradiation facility.
2014 The Japan Society for Aeronautical and Space Sciences