The Building Blocks of Life May Occur in Interstellar Clouds

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Glycine is the favorite molecule of astrophysicists who study the origin of life in stars. Scientists have now shown that glycine can form in cold, dark interstellar clouds before stars or planets. Glycine is an amino acid. Glycine is the simplest example of amino acid. This is what makes its presence in space so exciting. Complex amino acids, such as the formation of glycine, can also be formed by attaching extra molecular fragments.

Lead author Dr. According to Sergio Loppolo, other functional groups can be added to the base of glycine following the same principle in principle. This can lead to the formation of other amino acids such as “alanine and serine” in dark clouds in space. Finally, this enriched organic molecular sample is added to celestial bodies such as comets and can be delivered to young planets as well as many other planets including our world.

NASA’s “Stardust” mission, launched in 1999, was the first mission to bring a comet’s example to Earth.

The first glycine molecules in space were collected with samples taken from the comet “Wild 2”. ESA’s “Rosetta mission orbited comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko. And he found some glycine in his tassel. Since comets in the solar system are formed just before the Sun and the planets, these findings suggest that glycine will form in an interstellar cloud before any star is formed, assuming it needs some external energy carried by UV light.

However, an international team of scientists recently proved that without external energy, dark chemistry, glycine can form. Dr. Loppolo also explains that dark chemistry does not require energetic radiation. In the lab, the team created the conditions for an interstellar cloud with glacial temperatures of 10-20 Kelvin and dust particles covered with thin layers of different types of ice. Initially, methylamine, the precursor to glycine, was created in Comet 67P. In the next step, the team showed that glycine formed only in the presence of water-ice.

Professor of the astrophysics laboratory of the Leiden Observatory. According to Harold Linnartz, the important result of this study is that the molecules, the building blocks of life, were formed at a stage long before the formation of stars and planets. The formation of glycine this early in stellar evolution means that this amino acid can be found more widely in space and ultimately preserved in the ice mass before comets and planetoids are included.