A new building block of life has been found in interstellar space

Sep 30, 2014

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

By Felicity Nelson

Some astrobiologists argue that life was seeded from outer space through the impact of asteroids, but a new study has shown that life may have interstellar space to thank for its existence too.

Interstellar space is the physical space within a galaxy not occupied by stars or planets.

In a paper published in the journal Science on September 26, astronomers reported discovering a complex molecule needed for life in the gaseous star-forming region Sagittarius B2.

The finding suggests that the building blocks of life may have their origins in interstellar space.

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, astronomers from Cornell in the US and the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy and the University of Cologne in Germany picked up radio waves emitted by the molecule isopropyl cyanide.


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