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http://skatelescope.org/?p=16410: Molecule detection in young star system challenges search for Life assumptions
Square Kilometer Array

Direct link Molecule detection in young star system challenges search for Life assumptions

5 Oct 2017, 13:25 UTC Organohalogen methyl chloride discovered by ALMA around the infant stars in IRAS 16293-2422. These same organic compounds were discovered in the thin atmosphere surrounding 67P/C-G by the Rosetta space probe. Credit: B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF). SKA Global Headquarters, Jodrell Bank, UK, Thursday 5 October 2018 – Most people aren’t familiar with methyl chloride, but this complex organic molecule was widely believed to be an indicator of Life if detected on another planet. In a recent study published in Nature, an international team of astronomers led by Edith Fayolle (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) and including SKA Project Scientist Tyler Bourke detected the molecule around an infant star system, putting this theory into question. The team used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in Chile to make the detection in a dusty & cloudy environment containing several proto-stars of similar mass to the Sun, located about 400 light years from Earth. The molecule was also previously detected in similar abundance by the Rosetta probe around the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Since comets are remnants of early planetary formation, these new observations support the idea that planetary systems have a similar chemical composition than their parent star-forming regions. “Methyl chloride is usually associated with industrial ...

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