Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Spitzer Spies DNA Ingredients Light-Years From Earth

Spitzer Space Telescope has found traces of acetylene and hydrogen cyanide, building blocks of human proteins and DNA, swirling in huge, ultra-hot rings of dust circling a star 375 light-years from Earth.
These are precursors to the building blocks of life, not signs of life, and are found even in our own Solar System, at places such as Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. The Cassini-Huygens space probe discovered the moon boasts an impressive amount of organic chemistry.

The Spitzer discovery proves these elements are not unique to our Solar System. Unfortunately it does not prove the existence of life beyond our planet. It also remains to be seen how this dust is interacting within the confines of its solar system: whether it is condensing onto the rocky inner planets, the way scientists theorize it happened here.

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