from the urls-we-dig-up dept
The chemistry of what we consider biology may be common throughout the universe, but that doesn't necessarily mean that life is also abundant on other worlds. Chemists have tried to re-create the conditions that might have resulted in current biochemistry, but zapping inanimate precursor chemicals hasn't (yet?) generated any kind of life (that wasn't based on an existing, known lifeform -- ie. Venter kinda cheated). Here are some astrochemists looking for clues that might help us understand the origins of life.
- Two molecules, cyanomethanimine and ethanamine, have been seen in drifting in the interstellar cloud known as Sagittarius B2. The researchers who found them note that these molecules could be chemical precursors for DNA and RNA. [url]
- The existence of homochirality in biochemistry is a bit of mystery, but there may be some explanations that involve radiation from distant supernovas. Finding evidence of homochirality on asteroids or comets would be a nice find.... [url]
- The evidence of cellulose in interstellar space would be really exciting... if the spectroscopy data were more reliable. In 1978, polysaccharides were reported to be present near the Orion Trapezium Cluster, but confirming that finding hasn't panned out. [url]