A new study from London scientists suggested that the organic molecule found in the material from which the star is formed is capable of shedding light on the formation of life on Earth.
Researchers reported the first ever detection of glycolonitrile (HOCH2CN), a prebiotic molecule that existed before life. It was found near a solar-type protostar, IRAS16293-2422 B. In this dense and warm area, young stars are located in an early stage of development. Dust and gas cocoons are still observed around them (they are similar to what gave rise to our solar system).
The star birth region of Ophiuchi Ora with IRAS16293-2422 B is circled
The discovery of prebiotic molecules in solar-type protostars broadens our understanding of how the solar system appeared. The finding indicates that the planets created around the star may begin to exist with a stock of chemical elements necessary for the formation of life. IRAS16293-2422 B is considered to be a well-studied protostar living in the constellation Ophiuchus. It is located in the field of birth of stars with a distance of 450 light years from us.
The analysis showed that an important prebiotic molecule is capable of being created in the material from which stars and planets emerge. Now we are even closer to understanding the processes affecting the birth of mortal life.
The study used the data of submillimeter array ALMA (Chile). Thus, it was possible to find evidence of the presence of glycolonitrile in the interstellar medium.
Using the ALMA indicators, we were able to identify the chemical signatures of glycolonitrile and determine the conditions under which the molecule was found. Also, scientists used chemical modeling to reproduce the observed data.
The study emerged due to the discovery of methyl zonate (isomer of glycolonitrile), represented by the same atoms, but in a different location. That is, they have different properties.