Telescope finds sugar near star

2012-08-30 14:03

Santiago - Astronomers using a powerful radio telescope in Chile said that they had discovered sugar molecules, one of the building blocks of life, orbiting a young star similar to the Sun.

"This is the first time sugar been found in space around such a star," the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which is administering the project, said on Wednesday.

The astronomers found glycolaldehyde, a sugar compound described as essential to the existence of life, in the gas surrounding the star, located some 400 light-years from Earth, it said.

The discovery "shows that the building blocks of life are in the right place, at the right time, to be included in planets forming around the star".

Because the star is similar to our sun, the finding "shows that some of the chemical compounds needed for life existed in this [solar] system at the time of planet formation," the ESO said.

The discovery was made possible by the high sensitivity of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (Alma), an international project still under construction and slated for completion in 2013.

Alma has 66 antennas exploring the universe via radio waves emitted by galaxies, stars and other bodies not captured by optical and infrared telescopes, which only receive light.

The ESO operates three sites in Chile.

The Very Large Telescope (VLT) array - a cluster of four telescopes that can view objects four billion times fainter than those visible to the naked eye - is housed at the ESO's Paranal site in Chile's Atacama Desert.

The ESO is supported by Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

  • Leah - 2012-08-30 14:13


      Jellyarse - 2012-08-30 14:40

      Hey! I need one of these telescopes - My Wife can't even find the sugar in the Kitchen, always shouting "Where's the sugar?"

      SkyeBenga - 2012-08-30 15:00

      Huletts or Illovo?

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-08-30 15:27

      Sounds like a new lucrative market for Glucophage. Wonder which pharmaceutical company is going to build the 1st spaceship.

  • jody.beggs - 2012-08-30 14:42

    Nice , so it make it easier to understand how basic life can develop if the building blocks are their all along. Yay science. Those who say it can not be done , must not stop the people doing it. Damn the man.

      QuintSch - 2012-08-30 15:09

      We have all the building blocks of life right here on earth. So please put a frog (or any animal of choice) in a blender and hit the on switch for a few seconds. Take the resultant soup and use all the science you have available to bring this soup to life. I guarantee you will not be able to. Maybe just leave it in the blender for a few million years ... ? Finding 'building blocks' of life means nothing ... oh except if your worldview includes the secular religion of microbes-to-microbiologist evolutionism. Science is far more compatible with the creation worldview according to the Bible (and with the Bible as a whole) than it is with the humanist evolutionary fairy tale. But as atheists/evolutionists you follow the secular teachings of your disciples Hawking, Darwin, Dawkins, Hitchens etc, and worship at the altar of materialism like lemmings ...

      fishycraig - 2012-08-30 15:26

      And if the Internet was around 500 years ago there would be people saying that the earth is flat and the sun revolves around the earth...

      LJGraey - 2012-08-30 15:41

      Actually QuintSch, evilutionary theory is considered valid science by the vast majority of scientists. Religeous affiliation has absolutely nothing to do with it. Nor does a person's life philosophy or political views. You either believe the evidence, or you don't. Your reasons for doing so might be religiously motivated, but opinion is hardly going to change reality. Accepting evolution as a proven fact does not require you to be secular/atheist/materialist/a lemming any more than being religeous requires you to be stupid/insulting/deluded/hypocritical. Don't knock it just because you don't understand it. There's a lot of good science going on in biology. You should learn to value it, even if you don't like what it implies.

      CaptainGaza - 2012-08-30 15:43

      QuintSch. You speak aload of turd dont you. Your analogy of putting a frog in a blender shows us your complete ignorance on the matter, what an idiot. Now if you want to talk the biggest load of turd let's talk creationism, now there's a laugh a minute.

      jody.beggs - 2012-08-30 16:17

      @QuintSch that's why you need religion , narrow minded !

  • saffaseun.inoz - 2012-08-30 14:55

    Ummm...great. So what? How is this improving my life in any way...? Glad it wasn't floating sperm cells, then I would have been really worried...

      ben.louw.5 - 2012-08-30 15:42

      Maybe they should have put in a way more appealing to you... Dis daai lekka goed in jou brannas en coke man! "BURP"

      Osito - 2012-10-05 09:33

      Meme I laughed so hard now everyone in the office is staring at me. That is just brilliant!

  • coenraad.vanderwesthuizen.3 - 2012-08-30 15:32

    @QuintSch Your ignorance shows. Keep it up.

  • kian.barker.1 - 2012-08-30 16:12


  • kieron.beets - 2012-09-06 12:22

    Once again, all the atheist having to refer to bible phrases and hipocrasy to prove that they dont believe??? WHY I ask you? I Believe in God and nothing will change my mind... Why must I try and prove to you non-believers that there is a God? I believe and no point to prove... But you guys are a special kind... Always have to reference things "you do not believe in" by mocking something you "dont believe in"? You dont see me mocking religions like Atheism... Why should I mock something I dont believe in... I am secure enough to say I BELIEVE IN GOD! Are you so insecure that you have to make these wild statements (that is defnitely not facts) to convince yourself that you don't believe??? I am not writing this to spark a he said she said this and that debacle.. just giving you my opinion!

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