-Orion Nebula a Frothing Primordial Soup!

11 03 2010

HIFI Spectrum of H20 and Organics in the Orion Nebula. Credit: ESA, HEXOS

As astro-biochemists and astrobiologists have been suspecting for quite some time, the star-forming regions of space are literally teeming with the building blocks of life as we know it.  With just a few hours behind the Heterodyne Instrument for the Far Infrared, or HIFI for short, (which is currently flying aboard Europe’s Herschel Space Observatory,) researchers quickly obtained the highest-resolution infrared spectrum ever taken of the famous stellar nursery known as the Orion Nebula.

What they found blew them away: Not just blurred suggestions of organic molecules, but hard fingerprints of water, methanol, sulphur oxide, dimethyl ether, hydrogen cyanide, and others.

The case for the ubiquity of life appears to be getting stronger all the while, and with it comes a strengthened rationale for continued space exploration!

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