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Building Blocks of Life Identified in Infant Star System

posted: 04/08/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Fireworks of Star Formation Light Up a Galaxy
NASA

Astronomers have identified large quantities of complex organic molecules around infant star MWC 480, which substantiates the notion that the so-called "building blocks of life" are not unique to our own solar system.

Both methyl cyanide and hydrogen cyanide were identified in the region of dense gas that surrounds the nascent star. The presence of cyanides is particularly notable because cyanides are rich with carbon-nitrogen bonds, which are important in the formation of the amino acids that comprise proteins.

"Studies of comets and asteroids show that the solar nebula that spawned the Sun and planets was rich in water and complex organic compounds," noted study lead author Karin Oberg. "We now have even better evidence that this same chemistry exists elsewhere in the Universe, in regions that could form solar systems not unlike our own."

Click here for more information from the European Southern Observatory

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