Probable detection of the ingredient of life in Gas Clouds in space

Astronomers have probably found the traces of a precursor chemical, hydroxylamine, which is composed of atoms of nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen and could support the formation of life, nearly 1,000 light years from Earth.

Still scientists are not confirmed about the existence of this chemical but if it is confirmed, it could mean the life’s origin on the other planets as well as on our own planet.

“It’s very exciting,” said Stefanie Milam, an astrochemist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., who was not involved in the study. If the findings can be 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.”

L1157 seen from Spitzer Space Telescope (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UIUC)

According to Anthony Remijan, an astrochemist at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Va., who led the research effort, building blocks of life were formed in cold, gas-, dust- and plasma-filled interstellar clouds, when comets, asteroids and meteors were formed in these clouds they have such chemicals and upon reaching the planets, they spread the building blocks of life to the planets.

Brett McGuire, doctoral candidate in chemistry and chemical engineering at the California Institute of Technology, scientists have found many types of prebiotic molecules in space.

Researchers studied the star-forming region of the Milky Way called L1157-B1 using the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy (CARMA) and found very weak signals of hydroxylamine. They observed a gas jet impacting the interstellar medium, strong physical impact resulted in chemical reactions in the interstellar clouds resulting in the formation of the ingredients of life such as hydroxylamine that could react with the compounds such as acetic acid to form amino acids that could be taken to the other planets.

Although the findings need more verification but it could pave the way for moving in the same line to find the start of life. According to Milam, Remijan’s team will keep their work on the star-forming regions for more signals from the chemicals.

Researchers have presented the finding at the 221st annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

Scientists (Viti, S., Jimenez-Serra, I., Yates, J., Codella, C., Vasta, M., Caselli, P., Lefloch, B., & Ceccarelli, C. (2011). L1157-B1: WATER AND AMMONIA AS DIAGNOSTICS OF SHOCK TEMPERATURE The Astrophysical Journal, 740 (1) DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/740/1/L3) are already working on the “origin and nature of the profiles of water and ammonia” in L1157-B1 clump and the present finding increased the chances of some form of life out there.

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