Astronomers find sugar in space

(Image source: Reproduction / National Geographic)

Danish astronomers have made a sweet discovery. They found sugar molecules scattered in a cloud of gas floating around a star about 400 light-years from Earth, in a region known as Rho Ophiuchi, where star formation can be observed.

According to National Geographic, molecules detected in space constitute the simplest form of sugar - or carbohydrates formed by atoms of oxygen, hydrogen and carbon - being known as glycolaldehyde.

Sweet discovery

This compound is usually found on our planet as an odorless white powder and, although not used to sweeten food, scientists believe it plays an important role in the chemical reactions that give rise to RNA, a biomolecule present in all living cells.

While this is not the first time sugars have been found in space - astronomers have found these compounds on two other occasions - this is the first time these elements have been observed so close to a sun-like star. To prove the existence of life in space, the discovery proves that the building blocks essential for its emergence can be found even on planets still in formation.

Source: National Geographic