Astronomy Science

Molecules Discovered In Young Stars Suggest Life On Earth Came Via Our Sun

Molecules Discovered In Young Stars Suggest Life On Earth Came Via Our Sun

Although planets surround stars in the galaxy, how they form remains a subject of debate. Despite the wealth of worlds in our own solar system, scientists still aren’t certain how planets are built.

As per a recent study, astronomers have found chemical traces that form the primary ingredient for life in first sun-like stars. These compounds form the building blocks of life on our planet earth and are believed to have originated from the sun, which is our main star. A substance called the prebiotic molecule methyl isocyanate was found for the first time in protostars or the huge clumps of gas from which stars are formed.

Molecules Discovered In Young Stars Suggest Life On Earth Came Via Our SunMolecules from the sun helped in early life in Earth’s atmosphere. Image credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Genna Duberstein. (Image Source)

These early stars evolve like our sun and help in understanding how life came to the earth for the first time. These molecules could have formed in the sun before being transported to the earth.

Molecules Discovered In Young Stars Suggest Life On Earth Came Via Our SunSynthesis of prebiotic hydrocarbons in impacts of simple icy mixtures on early Earth (Image Source)

Two teams of astronomers in Chile used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to find out the signatures of the molecules in the light that is emitted from a system of young stars which were around 400 light years away. The study was done by analyzing the light emitted from the star and the number of elements present in the light. The components were calculated based on the absorption and emission of the wavelength of light from each element.

Rafael Martín-Doménech, from the Centro de Astrobiología in Madrid, Spain informed that this detection is a new step in the study of the origin of life.

Theories on How Life on Earth Evolved

Currently, two theories suggest how life started on earth. According to Rafael Martín-Doménech, life began on the surface of the earth. There is a possibility of some building block formation in the solar nebula before the earth was formed. These components were delivered to our earth by some comets, and biochemical reactions leading to the formation of the first living beings.

Molecules Discovered In Young Stars Suggest Life On Earth Came Via Our SunMethyl isocyanate contains carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen atoms in the configuration CH3NCO. (Image Source)

Further to this theory, it was found that a system was studied by ALMA in 2012. The study revealed some simple sugar molecules called glycolaldehyde which is yet another essential ingredient for the origin of life.

Molecules Discovered In Young Stars Suggest Life On Earth Came Via Our SunYoung sun-like star shows a magnetic field was critical for life on the early Earth Credit: M. Weiss/CfA (Image Source)

The second theory suggested by author Niels Ligterink from the Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands, he claims  that the star system keeps on giving something to the life on earth. A newly found substance called methyl isocyante, which belongs to the family of organic molecules helps in synthesizing peptides and amino acids. The synthetization leads to the formation of proteins that form the biological basis for life.

Methyl isocyanate contains hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon atoms (CH3NCO). The essential elements of this molecule help in evolving life. Studies reveal that Earth and other planets of our solar system evolved from a material that was left after the sun was formed from its protostar indicating early stages of our solar system almost 4.5 billion years ago.

Víctor M. Rivilla, from the INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri in Florence revealed that there is a lot of work that needs to be done. The chemistry related to living beings, even the simplest ones is quite complex, and we are at the initial stage only.

featured image©ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2/L. Calçada

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Molecules Discovered In Young Stars Suggest Life On Earth Came Via Our Sun
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