The original Battlestar Galactica opened with the words:
“There are those who believe life here began out there…”
But not in the way you might think.
A new building block of life has been found in interstellar space
Sunday, 28 September 2014
Some astrobiologists argue that life was seeded from outer space through the impact of asteroids, but a new study has shown that life may have interstellar space to thank for its existence too.
In a paper published in the journal Science on September 26, astronomers reported discovering a complex molecule needed for life in the gaseous star-forming region Sagittarius B2.
Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, astronomers from Cornell in the US and the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy and the University of Cologne in Germany picked up radio waves emitted by the molecule isopropyl cyanide.
The organic molecules normally detected in these regions of space have straight chains with a “backbone” of carbon atoms. Isopropyl cyanide is the first organic molecule with branches to be found.
It is a common element in organic molecules such as amino acids, which make up proteins.
The detection supports the idea that the organic molecules that have been found on meteorites were first created during the process of star formation.
It is no news that amino acids have been found in interstellar space, nor is it a new concept that the building blocks of life may have been seeded throughout the Universe, carried by mercurial messengers, meteorites, comets, and asteroids. But now we find that those seeds may have been one step closer than previously thought, making the development of life on viable planets just a little easier. With every discovery of this type life elsewhere in the Universe becomes not only a greater possibility, but a greater probability as life becomes inevitable rather than unique. Not only that but it also makes that life just a little bit closer to being similar to us, not discounting the infinite number of evolutionary choices posed by other environments.
How much more different an environment could there be on a single planet than the deepest ocean trenches where light never shines but even life dwelling there shares nearly 85% of our genetic make-up.
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