Understanding the origin of life is one amongst the main challenges of modern science. It’s believed that some basic prebiotic chemistry might have developed in space, probably transferring prebiotic molecules to the solar nebula and afterward to Earth.
Researchers from Queen Mary University of London and University College London discovered an organic compound within the whirling material that is forming new stars four hundred light years away within the constellation Ophiuchus, The Serpent Bearer.
The team made the discovery using data from the ALMA telescope in Chile. They found this distinctive chemical fingerprints situated within the warm, dense inner regions of the cocoon of dust and gas encompassing young stars in their earliest stages of evolution.
Organic molecules created in clouds of interstellar gas and dust throughout the early stages of star formation might have simply been transferred to planets and smaller bodies, like asteroids and comets, forming around stars.
This area of space is important because it’s a reflection of how our own solar system formed billions of years ago, suggesting that life in our side of the universe most likely got going in an identical way. It also means that alien life elsewhere is also possible.
The compound methyl isocyanate comes from a family of molecules that are the foundation of important molecular mixtures like peptides and amino acids which are essential for living organisms on Earth.
Scientists have long suspected that organic compounds were brought to Earth via comets, that crashed into the earth, setting off an biological process chain of events which eventually led to humans. However it had been unclear where they had come from within the first place. The new finding suggests that the key ingredients for the origin of life might have been created at an early stage of the solar system.
Earth and also the other planets in our solar system are formed from the material left over when the formation of the Sun around 4.5 billion years ago. Therefore finding complex molecules at the birth of a star indicates that each and every planets created around it are already surrounded with the chemical ingredients required to form life.