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Author Topic: Organic Compound Found In The Stars  (Read 1282 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: July 29, 2007, 08:10:32 AM »

Organic Compound Found In The Stars

"Astronomers have found the largest negatively charged molecule so far seen in interstellar space. The discovery, of an organic compound, suggests that the chemical building blocks of life may be more common in the Universe than had been previously thought. The molecule is a chain of eight carbons and a single hydrogen called the octatetraynyl anion (C8H¯). Two teams of scientists have spotted it near a dying star and in a cloud of cold gas.

The discovery, along with that of three smaller organic molecules in the past year, opens up a suite of potential chemical reactions and products. It suggests that 'prebiotic' molecules such as amino acids, the building blocks of protein, could form all over the Universe, says Tony Remijan, an astronomer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Charlottesville, Virginia..."
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« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2007, 12:33:50 PM »

It is interesting to see this at work; I suppose the finding is that space isn't as harsh as they thought it was, or maybe just that the ions are more hardy than they thought.

I'm sure this gives a boost to the "there's life out in space" theorists, too.
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2007, 09:26:38 AM »

I'm sure this gives a boost to the "there's life out in space" theorists, too.
Sure does. It is important to note that although organic material is not necessarily living, all living material is organic (as far as we know). So finding this organic ion may indicate the possibility of life, but we cannot, at this point, know for certain. Still, I'm glad our SETI money is yielding actual results.
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« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2007, 09:28:20 AM »

What SETI money? I thought that project had gone private funding years ago.
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« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2007, 10:04:59 AM »

It did, in 1994, but since 2003, it's been part of NASA's budget.
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg17924020.900-after-a-decade-in-the-cold-seti-gets-money-from-nasa.html
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« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2007, 10:41:01 AM »

Sure does. It is important to note that although organic material is not necessarily living, all living material is organic (as far as we know). So finding this organic ion may indicate the possibility of life, but we cannot, at this point, know for certain. Still, I'm glad our SETI money is yielding actual results. 

Oh, of course... But as long as we thought amino acids were impossible to be formed by the compounds in space, the less likely that life existed (or, at least, life as we know it).
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« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2007, 10:45:46 AM »

I expected anyone who is posting to this thread would know that--it's high school chemistry stuff. I wanted it to be clear, though, for those who might read it and not understand.

I do find evidences of original life evolution fascinating; it's as close as we'll get to actual experimentation on how we came to be.
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« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2007, 10:52:15 AM »


Makes sense...NASA wants a reason to exist.
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« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2007, 10:56:58 AM »

Makes sense...NASA wants a reason to exist. 

I know it was brought up in another thread somewhere, about how NASA is on life support because Americans don't want to take risks anymore.  Maybe this will help spur more confidence and risk-taking in the agency.
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« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2007, 11:25:02 AM »

I know it was brought up in another thread somewhere, about how NASA is on life support because Americans don't want to take risks anymore.  Maybe this will help spur more confidence and risk-taking in the agency.

I probably should not have made my comment- might veer us into political realms, but Americans do want to see results and be awed by them. So, I guess you're right.
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Tags: life  astronomy  origins 
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