Astronomers have made a sweet discovery in their search for life on other planets. A team at University College London has detected a sugar molecule that has long been associated with the origin of life in a potentially-habitable region of the galaxy. This could increase our chances of finding distant planets with life.The molecule is glycolaldehyde, the simplest monosaccharide sugar, which can react with propenal to form ribose, which is, in turn, the central component of RNA. Researchers believe that glycolaldehyde may be a key ingredient in the origin of life, but it has previously been detected only toward the center of our galaxy, where conditions make the formation of life unlikely. The discovery of glycolaldehyde in a star-forming region of our galaxy, roughly 26,000 light years from Earth, suggests that the molecule could prove to be wide spread throughout the galaxy, and could offer clues as to where we should focus our search for extraplanetary life. Image from NASA via Universe Today. [Physorg via Universe Today]


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