06/14/2016: A Molecule In Space Could Help Us Understand The Origin Of Life On Earth

popular_science_chiral_2016Are your molecules lefties or righties?

There are a lot of concepts that help life exist here on Earth. One is as simple as whether a molecule is right handed or left handed. As straightforward as it is, we still don’t know how the molecules got that way. But a recent discovery of a molecule in space might help us out.

The complex molecules that exist here on our planet often come in two versions, each mirror images or enantiomers of one another. But while its ordinary on Earth, we’ve never seen these kinds of molecules anywhere else in the universe. Now, for the first time, a team of scientists at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Virginia, the California Institute of Technology, and Harvard University discovered one of these so-called “chiral” molecules in space. The researchers think this discovery could help explain why some chiral molecules on Earth exist more commonly as one hand than as another.

Published by .  See more at: http://www.popsci.com/molecule-in-space-could-help-us-understand-life-on-earth

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