Sunday, May 22, 2022
Contact    |    RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon  
You are viewing: Home > News > Space & Astronomy > News story
Welcome Guest ( Login or Register )  

Did you know that you can now support us on Patreon ?

You can subscribe for less than the cost of a cup of coffee - and we'll even throw in a range of exclusive perks as a way to say thank you.
Space & Astronomy

Organic molecules found in interstellar space

September 28, 2014 | Comment icon 12 comments



The find could help us understand how life develops. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/ESO
Astronomers have identified the first signs of life-bearing chemistry at the center of the galaxy.
The building blocks of life appear to be widespread throughout the universe according to scientists who have discovered iso-propyl cyanide, a molecule with a structure similar to that of known complex organic molecules, within a star-forming cloud located more than 27,000 light years from the Earth.

While other organic molecules have been found before, iso-propyl cyanide is the first to have a branched carbon backbone.

The molecule was discovered using the Atacama Large Millimeter Array in Chile.
"Our goal is to search for new complex organic molecules in the interstellar medium," said Dr Arnaud Belloche from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy. "The idea is to know whether the elements that are necessary for life to occur can be found in other places in our galaxy."

The discovery is a promising sign that these elements are common throughout interstellar space.

"It's a step closer to discovering molecules that can be regarded as the building blocks or the precursors… of amino acids," said Prof Matt Griffin. "That's what everyone would like to see."

Source: BBC News | Comments (12)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by davros of skaro 8 years ago
The best thing is that when we die our spirits get to see all of everything. It's gonna be so awesome! This is how I imagine it.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 8 years ago
Space just keeps on being amazing! This is not really unexpected. Since comets are believed to be the left over building blocks of the solar system and since comets have complex organic molecules as well as water ice, it stands to reason that complex organic molecules should be found in deep space.
Comment icon #5 Posted by pallidin 8 years ago
I just love the technology behind this.
Comment icon #6 Posted by DieChecker 8 years ago
I wonder if this could be a Life-based, or technology-based, byproduct? Could we find ET civs by way of their extra-solar industrial waste?
Comment icon #7 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 8 years ago
I wonder if this could be a Life-based, or technology-based, byproduct? Almost certainly not. Don't let the name "organic" muddy the waters, in chemistry that just means carbon based. There are more types of organic molecules than there are inorganic. Given the right conditions complex organic molecules will form quite readily with no need for life or technology (Saturn's moon Titan and comets being good examples). Besides, if this is a product of life or technology you would expect to find it on, or near, a planet, not in interstellar space.
Comment icon #8 Posted by jarjarbinks 8 years ago
#2 or it's just like a computer, once you turn it off, it just end.
Comment icon #9 Posted by DieChecker 8 years ago
Almost certainly not. That's not a firm "no" though. Besides, if this is a product of life or technology you would expect to find it on, or near, a planet, not in interstellar space. Unless it is the equivalent to offshore dumping.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 8 years ago
That's not a firm "no" though. It's as close to a firm no as you are ever going to get. What it most certainly is not is a yes. Unless it is the equivalent to offshore dumping. How does expending vast amounts of energy to move something into interstellar space equate to offshore dumping? The whole point of off shore dumping is that it is a lazy, ecologically disastrous but cheap way of disposing of something. Travelling into interstellar space is not going to be a cheap, easy way of disposing of things. Sorry DieChecker but you are grasping at straws and making little sense doing it.
Comment icon #11 Posted by paperdyer 8 years ago
I find it interesting that the organic material found is more than likely toxic to human life. I don't know of any cyanide (CN) derivatives that aren't.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 8 years ago
I don't know of any cyanide (CN) derivatives that aren't. There are a few: Organic nitriles do not readily release cyanide ions, and so have low toxicities. Due to the high stability of their complexation with iron, ferrocyanides (Sodium ferrocyanide E535, Potassium ferrocyanide E536, and Calcium ferrocyanide E538) do not decompose to lethal levels in the human body and are used in the food industry as, e.g., an anticaking agent in table salt. Source: wikipedia As Iso-propyl cyanide (also known as Isobutyronitrile) is an organic nitrile is likely to have a low toxicity. You wouldn't want to dr... [More]


Please Login or Register to post a comment.


 Total Posts: 7,265,780    Topics: 298,852    Members: 196,964

 Not a member yet ? Click here to join - registration is free and only takes a moment!
Recent news and articles