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Author Topic: Key Molecule for Life Found in Habitable Region of the Galaxy  (Read 619 times)

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Offline The OverlordTopic starter

Key Molecule for Life Found in Habitable Region of the Galaxy
« on: November 29, 2008, 03:54:56 PM »

A sugar molecule linked to the origin of life was discovered in a potentially habitable region of our galaxy.

The molecule, called glycolaldehyde, was spotted in a large star-forming area of space around 26,000 light-years from Earth in the less-chaotic outer regions of the Milky Way. This suggests the sugar could be common across the universe, which is good news for extraterrestrial-life seekers.

"This is an important discovery as it is the first time glycolaldehyde, a basic sugar, has been detected towards a star-forming region where planets that could potentially harbor life may exist," Serena Viti of University College London said in a press release.

Previously, glycolaldehyde had only been observed toward the center of the galaxy, where conditions are thought to be too extreme to host habitable planets.

Glycolaldehyde is a key ingredient for life. It helps to build Ribonucleic acid (RNA), which is thought to be the central molecule involved in the origin of life on Earth. Glycolaldehyde is a monosaccharide sugar, the basic unit of carbohydrates. It can react with the chemical propenal to form ribose, the building block of RNA.

"The discovery of an organic sugar molecule in a star forming region of space is very exciting and will provide incredibly useful information in our search for alien life,” said Keith Mason, chief executive of the England’s Science and Technology Facilities Council.

The finding, made with the IRAM radio telescope in France, was announced Tuesday and will be published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

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Re: Key Molecule for Life Found in Habitable Region of the Galaxy
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2008, 02:06:11 AM »
I often wonder why those who claim abiogenesis to be impossible will point to small details such as these, claiming that God must bridge that gap. And then, as new information is uncovered, it can no longer be legitimately pointed to... but I apologize, this is the wrong forum.

There are many steps, of course, between simple lipid bubbles or self-replicating acid chains, and life itself. It seems that every year, another such step is uncovered, and humanity moves between contemplating itself to knowing itself.

The future is an incredibly interesting place.

Offline The OverlordTopic starter

Re: Key Molecule for Life Found in Habitable Region of the Galaxy
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2008, 03:37:00 AM »

I think there definitely is a mental struggle for most, that a few molecules can become self-replicating, then lead to actual life. For the most imaginative among us, that's a stretch, so I can understand it having opponents.

We're also very self-centered as a species, even arrogant about it at times. I blame even religion for this, because even the bible says god created us in his image and gave us dominion over the other species. Well, how lovely and convenient that all turned out to be.

Let's face it, we can't fess' up to the notion that we came up out of the primordial ooze with the rest of the things we share the planet with. It might not be pretty, but the truth is the truth. Science, as it's been so well put, is after the truth, and not just what makes us feel good.