How life began on Earth, revealed by molecules around forming planets?


Earthlings who have tried calling ET have always gotten a dead signal. do you still want to believe Maybe the extraterrestrials aren’t answering because they haven’t come into being – yet.

Even though dimethyl ether found in clouds from which stars are born had it never seen in a disk of gas that produces planets. This disk (IRS 48) is located in the constellation of the Ophiuchus, about 445 light-years away. Protoplantar discs have organic molecules floating around everywhere, but this is by far the largest ever discovered among embryonic planets, and it’s a molecule that could give rise to even larger molecules found in the progenitors of life.

It’s difficult to spot molecules in protoplanetary disks because they’re often cloaked in dust. Dimethyl ether hid in the ice inside a dust trap in IRS 48. As the ice sublimated, or turned from a solid to a vapor, the molecules became visible. Leiden Observatory researcher Nashanty Brunken led a study recently published in Astronomy & Astrophysics, believes it could reveal more about the origins of life on Earth and possibly beyond. It was formaldehyde that told her and her team that there was ice in the dust trap.

“Formaldehyde has a formation pathway in both the gas phase and the ice phase, but it can lead to the formation of methanol via ice chemistry,” she told SYFY WIRE. “When methanol was also detected in the disc, we were able to conclude that the dust trap is actually an ice trap rich in molecules.”

How much formaldehyde was there compared to methanol showed that formaldehyde must have formed primarily from ice chemistry, so ice was definitely lurking in that dusty haze. This was also shown by observations methyl formate, another large molecule that could be an indicator of life in the distant future of this evolving system, may reside in this ice. Both dimethyl ether and methyl formate can only be crafted in frozen regions like the icy dust trap in IRS 48. Protoplanetary disks are too warm for such complex molecules to form anywhere else.

For dimethyl ether to form in space you need carbon monoxide ice somewhere, but there is none in IRS 48. It instead begins to form in the extreme cold of molecular clouds in their earliest stages. These dark, dense clumps are so dusty they’re impossible to see through, but atoms that cling to the ice that forms on dust grains and react with each other form simple organic molecules, which then undergo further chemical reactions that create more complex molecules respectively . How they form and evolve can reveal what life was like billions of years ago.

“The glacial origin of dimethyl ether suggests that these complex organic molecules are present in the earlier cold cloud phase before star formation, which means all disks should have the material for prebiotic molecules,” Brunken said.

That said, while this isn’t evidence of extraterrestrial life forms or their DNA, it could explain how molecules that formed larger molecules formed even larger molecules came together to form amino acids and other vital connections (at least as we know them). Brunken and her team could be on to something if it can be shown that these substances are present in other planetary systems. That would mean that they probably formed in the same way that dimethyl ether was thought to have formed in IRS 48, and that each system has at least the potential for life.

“We hope to find more of these large molecules and are looking for these molecules in other sources to show that the IRS 48 is not unique and that this prebiotic material is indeed available in all planet-forming regions,” she said.

Maybe aliens are already showing up and we just don’t know it.


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