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Space Sugar Discovered In Binary System Star 94

Posted by timothy
from the sweetness-and-light dept.
SchrodingerZ writes "Sweet tooths rejoice! 400 light years from Earth in the constellation Ophiuchus, sugar molecules have been confirmed in a gas cloud surrounding a young star. The star, IRAS 16293-2422, though early in its life is relativity close to the size of our Sun. It is part of a Binary star system. '"In the disk of gas and dust surrounding this newly formed star, we found glycolaldehyde, which is a simple form of sugar, not much different to the sugar we put in coffee," study lead author Jes Jorgensen, of the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark, said in a statement.' Glycolaldehyde has been found before in space, but never this close to a Sun-like planet. In fact 'the molecules are about the same distance away from the star as the planet Uranus is from our sun.' This discovery proves that the building blocks of life could have possibly existed in the earlier parts of our own solar system. This particular sugar reacts with propenal to form ribose, which is a major component for organic life on Earth."
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Space Sugar Discovered In Binary System Star

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  • Sweet! (Score:2, Funny)

    by K. S. Kyosuke (729550)
    The creationists will need something to sugar the pill.
  • Not actually sweet (Score:5, Informative)

    by kraln (1477093) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @06:17AM (#41204779)
    If the submitter had actually read the article, he'd know that while the molecules in question *are* sugar, they *are not* sweet and in fact are arguably not even saccharides.
  • destroyed sugar transport
  • To form ribose, which is necessary for life?

    Yeah, but the propenal reaction is not exactly how "life" does [] it.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 02, 2012 @06:34AM (#41204811)

      I feed my bacteria in the lab plenty of artificially synthesised compounds and they don't give a damn. Based on life as we know it, if it's availabe and it can use it then life will usually find some way of taking it up regardless of source.

      The better question is do the chemicals react to form ribose under the conditions in space, or can they survive the transfer to somewhere they will react?

      • by RockDoctor (15477)
        I'm trying to remember the references for the nylon-precursor - eating bacterium. If you'd not posted AC, I'd consider looking harder. It exists ; find it.
    • Yeah, but the propenal reaction is not exactly how "life" does it.

      Especially when it's not "life" yet. Got it?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    with space ice, some space air (20% should do) and sure, why not, a few space girls, and we can have a space party like it's space 1999 !!

  • by MindPrison (864299) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @07:00AM (#41204857) Journal

    ...your average Brit, sitting there sipping his coffee or tea, listening to BBC morning news...

    "And we interrupt this program to bring you the following news: A huge lump of sugar is headed towards planet earth, yes...that is where you and I live".

    The unassuming average Brit, just sitting there, sipping on his morning coffee when he yet again is interrupted by a voice saying: "More sugar dear?" all know where I am going with this.

  • As if we didn't have enough golf-club-gold-member yacht owning dentists in this world.

    Imagine vampires turning people into more vampires, now...dentists will give birth to even more dentists...

  • by Kazymyr (190114) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @07:12AM (#41204881) Journal

    If there's sugar, someone will surely make rum out of it. We'll have plenty of space grog. Arrr!

  • by Pav (4298)

    Aren't the Ur-Quan [] meant to come from that part of space? We are so screwed. ;)

    BTW, Star Control II (or the open source Ur-Quan Masters) is a great game and is part of many Linux repos, and also has Win32 binaries. Download it plus a cheat map (it's too hard otherwise) and lose a weekend... it's a great game, universe and story, and it has a quirky sense of humour. Make sure you download the full music and speech, and persist through the early game - it's a little slow.

  • Yay! (Score:3, Funny)

    by greyblack (1148533) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @08:35AM (#41205141)
    Just need some yeast and we'll have one hell of a party star!
  • "Glycolaldehyde has been found before in space, but never this close to a Sun-like planet."

    Gentlemen. We have found the planet of heaven.

  • Quick! Somebody clean this mess up before space-flies gather on top of it.

    • by Sulphur (1548251)

      Quick! Somebody clean this mess up before space-flies gather on top of it.

      It may indicate Space Diabetes.

  • by Tastecicles (1153671) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @08:01PM (#41209761)

    This is a rehash of a paper published in November 2008 (Beltran, et. al.). By the way, glucolaldehyde is NOT a sugar, it is a diose. Well, the only diose.

  • Willy Wonka went after he retired.
  • by L. J. Beauregard (111334) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @09:15PM (#41210079)

    Glycolaldehyde is the first step in the metabolism of ethylene glycol, and likewise will be metabolized to oxalic acid, which is the poison in rhubarb.

  • I keep seeing articles like this on slashdot but this one takes the cake, pun semi-intended. I have a question

    In the disk of gas and dust surrounding this newly formed star, we found glycolaldehyde.

    How? Does it reflect some rare particular frequency of light? Oh wait, Doppler wavelength dilation. Did they travel out there and scoop some up to sample it? I don't get it! Why do they never mention how they determined what molecule is off on some distant solar system?! Good thing some intelligent slashd

    • if I must.

      The primary method of determining what's out there is infrared spectroscopy. Each and every element and compound has its own infrared signature; regardless of temperature, luminosity, or the conditions of the surrounding space, the signature of a given compound/element is the same, therefore where you see a given signature you can be pretty certain that the compound to which it refers is present. What makes the science even more fun is that you can determine the signature of each molecule using sa

  • Sweet justice ! ...

    ... The truth is as sweet as sugar !

  • .. 't makm' e feeeeel so gooooood!


Organic chemistry is the chemistry of carbon compounds. Biochemistry is the study of carbon compounds that crawl. -- Mike Adams