Scientists have found some evidence suggesting the existence of exoplanets that are supposed to support life as we know it. Researchers have detected an amino acid in space, according to a new study published in the scientific journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. It is considered an essential compound to ensure human life as we know it.

A team led by astrophysicist Susana Iglesias-Groth of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) in Spain claims: The study detected the amino acid tryptophan in a region of the Perseus constellation, about a thousand light-years from Earth. The data was obtained during observations by the Spitzer Space Telescope, which was discontinued in early 2020.

The research explains that tryptophan is considered one of the 20 amino acids responsible for the formation of human life as we know it. Tryptophan molecules were found due to their natural glow, which can be detected using infrared wave equipment. The detection took place in the star forming region of IC 348, where researchers believe more than 400 stars are already forming.

“The novelty of this work is that tryptophan has never been detected in the interstellar medium, and moreover, despite decades of research, there has been no confirmed detection of other amino acids in any other region of star formation. Evidence for tryptophan in the Perseus molecular complex is evident in this region and elsewhere,” said Iglesias-Groth. “It should encourage further efforts to identify other amino acids in star-forming regions.”

essential amino acid for life

As the scientists explain, the telescope recorded spectroscopic data of infrared light to identify tryptophan. In total, they found 20 emission lines from the amino acid and found that the compound was at a temperature of about 7°C – in other studies, Dr. Iglesias-Groth was able to measure the temperature of hydrogen and water molecules in an interstellar cloud.

The drawing shows where the amino acid is located in the constellation of the hero.

With the discovery, scientists believe that tryptophan and other amino acids spread to different planetary systems, enriching the gas in star forming regions. Other studies have already presented data from different amino acids detected in meteorites, suggesting that these compounds existed before the birth of our solar system.

“It’s a very exciting possibility that the building blocks of proteins are commonly found in the gas from which stars and planets form – it could be key to the evolution of life in exoplanetary systems.”

Source: Tec Mundo

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I'm Blaine Morgan, an experienced journalist and writer with over 8 years of experience in the tech industry. My expertise lies in writing about technology news and trends, covering everything from cutting-edge gadgets to emerging software developments. I've written for several leading publications including Gadget Onus where I am an author.


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