A new kind of organic molecule has been discovered in a giant gas cloud in interstellar space, indicating that more complex molecules – the very core building blocks of life – can potentially form outside of the Earth and even be widespread in space.
The analysis of a star-forming gas cloud some 27,000 light years away from Earth, published in the journal Science, detected an iso-propyl cyanide molecule with a unique structure that is common in life-forming molecules, such as amino acids.
While finding a simple organic chemical in space is nothing new, a carbon-bearing molecule with a branched structure has been discovered for the first time, indicating that biologically crucial molecules can form not only on Earth, but in deep space too.
“This detection suggests that branched carbon-chain molecules may be generally abundant in the ISM [interstellar medium],” the study’s abstract reads.
The scientists –…
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