Sunday, August 13, 2006
The primordial kitchen for cooking the chemistry of life apparently included a well-stocked freezer.
For about 30 years, radio astronomers have poked around the Milky Way for the building blocks of life, usually in hot spots near stars.
The most recent search yields eight carbon-based molecules found in two cold giant clouds of gas and dust, from which stars and planets are eventually born and comets escape.
A two-year project using the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia identified the molecules by detecting the radiation they absorb and emit at specific, known frequencies as they tumble through space.
The discovery bolsters the theories that chemical evolution occurs routinely in space and that life on Earth could have been seeded by molecule-laced icy comets smashing into the planet.
The above news report is based on the Astrophysical Journal paper "Confirmation of Interstellar Methylcyanodiacetylene (CH3C5N)" (Abstract).
technorati tags: primordial, chemistry, life, radio, astronomers, milky+way, stars, carbon, molecules, gas, clouds, planets, comets, telescope, virginia, radiation, space, chemical, evolution, earth, interstellar, astrophysical