Scientists Spot 'Precursor to Life' in Deep Space
Milky Way chemical could help seed planetary life
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2013 7:15 PM CST
A star-forming region in deep space.   (NASA/JPL)

(Newser) – Astronomers have spotted hints of a precursor to chemical to life about 1,000 light-years away, LiveScience reports. Detected in a star-forming region of the Milky Way, the chemical—called hydroxylamine—is theoretically able to mix with other compounds, form amino acids, and seed other planets with life. "It's very exciting," says a NASA astrochemist. If verified, "this will be the first detection of this new molecule. It gives us a lot of hope for prebiotic chemistry in this particular region."

Researchers found it while scanning an interstellar region where a powerful gas jet is ramming into clouds filled with plasma, dust, and gas. In theory, that could overcome the frostiness of space and spark chemical reactions that create hydroxylamine. Some scientists say the components of life developed in such interstellar clouds, and hitched rides on space rocks that seeded Earth about 3.6 billion years ago. (Astronomers have also found the "biggest thing in the universe.")

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Scientists Spot 'Precursor to Life' in Deep Space is...
4%
35%
1%
54%
1%
5%
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Comments
Showing 3 of 52 comments
I_was_thinking
Jan 28, 2013 6:44 PM CST
Speaking of unverifiable hypotheses, if you understood just how far the discovery of hydroxylamine is from any sort of self-replicating molecule or even any medium complexity biomolecule, you'd be a lot more humble in your posts. 50 years of intensive lab work has shown just how difficult it is to show feasibility much less verify this problem. Don't fall for cheap headlines and for goodness sake get over your attitude.
iq145
Jan 15, 2013 10:33 PM CST
The Pope is probably already ordering hitmen to kill the scientist who discovered this "God element". Information like this jeopardizes billions of dollars in donations...
InferiorToYou
Jan 15, 2013 7:09 AM CST
I'm unsure if I'm supposed to accept or reject this evidence. I'll ask my pastor and get back to you.