Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Life's Ingredients Detected In Far Off Galaxy

ScienceDaily reports that some of the chemicals necessary for the production of life, methanimine and hydrogen cyanide -- two ingredients that build life-forming amino acids --have been discovered a galaxy some 250 million light years away. The article states that, when combined with water, the molecules form glycene, the simplest amino acid and a building block of life on Earth.

Astronomers focused their telescopes on a distant galaxy Arp 220, an ultra-luminous starburst galaxy and found the 'finger prints' of these important chemicals. "The fact that we can observe these substances at such a vast distance means that there are huge amounts of them in Arp 220," said Emmanuel Momjian, a former Arecibo astronomer, now at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Socorro, N.M. "It is indeed very intriguing to find that the ingredients of life appear in large quantities where new stars and planets are born."

Perhaps we are not alone at all in the universe after all. Perchance there are other places with human-like life. If we ever should meet them, would our first instinct, so ingrained in our evolution, be to kill them? What an awful thought. Yet our human history is filled with many such awful deeds.

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