Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sugar Molecules Found Around Young Star

IRAS 16293-2422 is a young binary system, and now carbohydrate molecules - specifically, glycoaldehyde - have been found in the dust around it. What's interesting is a 2005 paper showing higher-than-expected abundance of sulfur-containing molecules; sulfur is important in biology since it is relatively easily oxidized or reduced and can form bridges with itself.

The less speculative reason this is interesting is because it has implications for the evolution of life and the deposition of organic molecules in an early solar system that would make Earth-like life possible. More speculatively, if such things as von Neumann probes exist, these dust clouds around young stars (if common) would be substrate-rich places to reproduce if they're using organics, since they wouldn't have to go down a gravity well or even drill into an asteroid as has been previously discussed.

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