NASA finds the “building blocks of life” in icy clouds
Tuesday – Rajab 2, 1444 AH – January 24, 2023 AD
The material was discovered about 500 light years from Earth (Sky News)
Washington: «Middle East»
NASA has found the molecular species that make up the “building blocks of life” in a deep region of ice clouds.
Using the James Webb Space Telescope, a team of astronomers has confirmed the presence of methane and ethanol, as well as small compounds containing nitrogen and sulfur, according to Sky News.
On Earth, methane sources include emissions from wetlands, oceans, landfills, and livestock farming, while most ethanol comes from fermented starches and sugars.
This material was discovered about 500 light-years from Earth, in a region where temperatures range from -270 degrees Celsius to -250 degrees Celsius, which have not been observed before.
The international team spent 30 hours observing two regions of the dense and difficult to probe molecular cloud (Chameleon I), where dozens of young stars are forming. The NASA telescope sent detailed images and data, through which Ice Age scientists can identify the molecules.
The image shows the central region of Chameleon I with a cool blue cloud, illuminated by the glow of a young star (seen in orange). The light from this star and others in the background is used to reveal ice in the cloud, which absorbs starlight passing through it.
“This is exciting for two reasons,” said Professor Martin McCostra, an astrophysicist.
He continued: «One of them is that it makes us more confident in the conditions that we recreate in our laboratories. The second reason is that these molecules are the materials that make up the basic building blocks of life.
“We are increasingly certain that many of the components from which life arose had an extraterrestrial origin and were created as a natural part of the process of forming the sun and the solar system,” McCostra added.