Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Organic molecules in space

A simple sugar that is an ingredient of life has been found for the first time in a relatively hospitable part of the galaxy. As molecules go, glycolaldehyde is not an impressive one, but its link to the origins of life make it significant. It can react to form ribose, a key constituent of the nucleic acid RNA. The study, in Astrophysical Journal Letters, is important as it shows organic molecules in a region of space where planets could form.