Scientists announced that organic molecules have been found for the first time on a distant star, according to a study published in the journal Nature. The existence of these molecules points to the fact that alien forms of life could exist, mostly because these molecules are the basic components of all life.
The organic molecules were discovered in the dust around an interstellar gas disk that covered an infant star called MWC 480. These complex molecules have been detected in an intense star forming region which lays approximately 450 light years away from Earth.
Karin Öberg from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the lead-author of the study, explained this breakthrough strongly suggests our solar system is not the only star system which has the potential to create and support life. She mentioned the intensely rich organic chemical molecules found in this young solar system is an evidence of quite common cometary compositions.
This prebiotic chemistry, which has only been found until now on Earth and inside our solar system, is occurring in other galaxies as well, the astrophysicist said. The galaxy was discovered by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) radio telescope located in Chile.
MWC 480 is one million years old and its surrounded by methyl cyanide, a complex molecule that is derived from carbon. The young star holds the molecules in the farthest reaches of its newly formed disk, which is compared bu scientists to our solar system’s Kuiper’s Belt.
It is the place where icy comets, like the 67P Churyumov/Gerasimenko, originate. These comets still have their chemistry of materials unchanged since planets in our solar system were forming.
The author of the study adds that the solar nebula of our sun and the early planets were created from organic compounds which were already rich in water. With the detection of MWC 480, the astronomers have the proof that this exact same chemistry happens to exist elsewhere in the galaxy.
Researchers also mentioned that the gas and dust shrouding the disk of the young galaxy will spiral down, while some of these complex organic molecules will be thrown into interstellar space. The remnants of this processes will then form planets and comets or asteroids as found in solar systems like ours.
The organic chemicals would then reach the habitable zone of the new star system. Water is one of those chemicals. It is an imitation of the processes that happened in our solar system a few billions of years ago.
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