Production of hydrogen peroxide in Martian and lunar soils

Joel A. Hurowitz, Nicholas J. Tosca, Scott M. McLennan, Martin A. A. Schoonen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    493 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Freshly ground basaltic minerals produce sufficient quantities of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) when immersed in solution to explain the oxidizing characteristics of Martian soil samples collected by the Viking landers. H2O2 production occurs as a result of reactions between water and defects at the surface of mechanically pulverized minerals, analogous to carcinogenic quartz dusts. Our results also indicate that dehydroxylation of mineral surfaces results in increased H2O2 production, a highly relevant finding for dusts on the airless surface of the Moon. Reactive, pulverized minerals are important on planetary bodies where impact processes have generated fine-grained basaltic dusts, and may pose a significant health risk to astronauts visiting planetary surfaces where impacts have generated such materials. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)41-52
    Number of pages12
    JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
    Volume255
    Issue number1-2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2007

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