Sugar Time (& Space)

by Buzz on 30/08/2012

To continue our look at cosmology, here’s a link to an article called New 1st-Time Discovery of Key Building Block for Life in the Universe.

Money quote:

A team of astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has spotted sugar molecules in the gas surrounding a young Sun-like star.  This is the first time sugar been found in space around such a star, and the discovery shows that the building blocks of life are in the right place, at the right time, to be included in planets forming around the star.  Sugar is the common name for a range of small carbohydrates (molecules containing carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, typically with a hydrogen:oxygen atomic ratio of 2:1, as in water).

The astronomers found molecules of glycolaldehyde — a simple form of sugar — in the gas surrounding a young binary star, with similar mass to the Sun, called IRAS 16293-2422.  Glycolaldehyde has been seen in interstellar space before, but this is the first time it has been found so near to a Sun-like star, at distances comparable to the distance of Uranus from the Sun in the Solar System.  This discovery shows that some of the chemical compounds needed for life existed in this system at the time of planet formation.

In short, the more we learn the more likely it seems that life is not an accidental by-product of the formation of the universe, but that the universe occurred so life could exist.

buzz@buzzdixon.com

Comments are closed.