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Posted by on Aug 31, 2012 in Science |

Astronomers find sugar near the star IRAS 16293-2422

Astronomers find sugar near the star IRAS 16293-2422

The arrival of the Mars Curiosity and information as it is sent from the Red Planet has made space exploration has become, if anything, even more popular with the public (although it has always been a subject that has fascinated many people always). Knowing the origin of the universe, how the planets formed or if, somewhere, there are Earth-like planets (even with the possibility of sustaining life) are some of the questions asked daily a number of scientists working with the Hubble Telescope , the Kepler probe or in any of the existing observatories on Earth. In the Atacama Desert (Chile) is the Hubble ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter Array), a set of 66 large radio telescopes that were used to locate around a young star like our Sun, sugar particles .

Sugar? Space? Strange as it may seem, the team of astronomers working at the site (managed facilities between Chile, USA, Europe, Canada, Japan and Taiwan) has encountered since finding only that is the first time that is near a star of this kind, which means to have found traces of building blocks for life, arranged at the right time, could be incorporated during the formation of planets around this star and perhaps lead to the formation of life.

Specifically, the team found traces of glycolaldehyde, a simple form of sugar in the gas surrounding the star IRAS 16293-2422 (that has a mass similar to that of our Sun) and although not the first time you encounter this made in space, yes it is the first discovery of a star so close (about the distance between Uranus and the Sun) and suggests to scientists that certain basic components existed before the formation of the planets.

The glycoaldehyde is one of the components required for the formation of RNA, like DNA, is one of the basic components of life

The star IRAS 16293-2422 is “relatively” close to Earth, 400 light years away, therefore, for the ALMA team is an ideal object for the study of the chemical composition of young stars and the study the behavior of the dust and gas clouds that form around these stars and give rise to the formation of new planets.

Thanks to these observations, scientists can delve into the process of planet formation and how they come to these building blocks for the formation of life and how these components evolve into more complex compounds.

Images: ALMA

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