Understanding the chemical pathways to the formation of molecules in various astrophysical settings is at the heart of astrochemical research. In particular, the icy mantles formed on interstellar dust grains and their processing by galactic cosmic rays or high-energy ultraviolet photons are thought to be the origin of many observed molecules, including those that are prebiotic. As interstellar regions evolve into stellar and planetary systems, these molecules may be seeded to planets and moons and contribute to important (geo)chemical processes and the possible emergence of life. In this talk, we shall outline the use of far-infrared and terahertz spectroscopy in the laboratory and how this aids in determining the molecular composition of interstellar, circumstellar, and solar system-type environments. Special attention will be paid to the use of such laboratory-generated spectra in astronomical observations, with a focus on the role of SOFIA in past and potential future projects.
For information on how to participate in the teletalks, please check the SOFIA Tele-Talk page.