Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sweet & Sour

Cosmic Sugar for your sweet tooth. A cosmic candy store has been located in a disc of gas and dust around the newly formed star IRAS 16293-2422 (catchy name). C2H4O2, which is glycolaldehyde or sugar (similar to what is used in your morning coffee), when introduced to propenal becomes one of the building blocks of life, RNA.

How was this found? Much the way a lot of the analysis on stars and atmospheric make-ups light years away are discovered through the only way possible, telescopes. Using telescopes and actually quite brilliant understanding of the different compounds, particles and their reactions to light, the researchers are able to ascertain much and then hypothesize the balance.

Okay now for the sour – I am not so sure I believe in all the above. I think that some of their assessments are nothing short of genius, but some of them I fear are 100% in error due to a different reaction to light then they anticipate. Might I be proved wrong? Sure. Could they be proved wrong? Yes.

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