Astronomers have made a sweet discovery: simple sugar molecules floating in the gas around a star some 400 light-years away, suggesting the possibility of life on other planets.
The discovery doesn’t prove that life has developed elsewhere in the universeâ€”but it implies that there is no reason it could not. It shows that the carbon-rich molecules that are the building blocks of life can be present even before planets have begun forming.
Scientists use the term “sugar” to loosely refer to organic molecules known as carbohydrates, which are made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.
The molecules that the team detected in space are the simplest form of sugar, called glycoaldehyde, explained lead astronomer Jes JÃ¸rgensen of Denmark’s Copenhagen University.