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Publication Date


Publication Title

The Astrophysical Journal


The American Astronomical Society


If interstellar particles and molecules accumulate into larger particles during the collapse of a cold cloud, the resulting aggregates contain a large store of internal chemical energy. It is here proposed that subsequent warming of these accumulates leads to a thermal runaway when exothermic chemical reactions begin within the aggregate. These, after cooling, are the crystalline chondrules found so abundantly within chondritic meteorites. Chemical energy can also heat meteoritic parent bodies of any size, and both thermal metamorphism and certain molten meteorites are proposed to have occurred in this way. If this new theory is correct, (1) the model of chemical condensation in a hot gaseous solar system is eliminated, and (2) a new way of studying the chemical evolution of the interstellar medium has been found. A simple dust experiment on a comet flyby is proposed to test some features of this controversy.