Tuesday, December 23, 2008

We Came From Outer Space!

A post from November 2007 while I am on sabbatical.

"We are star-stuff." I loved to hear Carl Sagan say those words each week as our family watched his series, Cosmos. One can float back to those wonderful episodes [complete with music] at the Carl Sagan Portal.

Well, in fact, he was right some 30 years ago. In a new article entitled, New evidence for extragalactic life-forming matter, it states:

"Astrophysicists believe that organic molecules were present in the cloud of dust and gas from which our solar system formed, providing the raw materials for life on Earth. Astronomers can see these molecules throughout our galaxy, which is one reason why many believe conditions may also be ripe for life in other parts of the Milky Way, and perhaps further afield."

The article goes on to say that scientists are looking to find carbon-based molecules in other galaxies similar to the ones that once floated in interstellar space are thought to have been later incorporated into Earth, providing the raw materials for life.

Through spectral analysis the chemical signature of a class of organic compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons [PAC] can be seen in the way they absorb light from distant stars. The second word, aromatic, conjures up the smell of life-stuff, whatever that is.

Star stuff. Hug a friend; touch a star!

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