Major ingredient for life on Earth formed in deep space, claims new study

Researchers discover extraterrestrial origins of a chemical essential for human DNA and other cell processes.

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Credit ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM
  • Scientists create interstellar icy grains in a super-cold experiment.
  • They show that phosphates forms under these conditions.
  • Phosphates are crucial building blocks in molecular biology.
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What a Purple Column of Light Named “Steve” Teaches Us About Our Potential

Here’s how a discovery by a plucky band of sky-watchers changed science. 

 

Aurora borealis or the northern lights. Getty Images.

What would you think if you were looking into the night sky and saw a purple column of light streak vertically in front of you? At first glance, it appears to be a phenomenon much like the Aurora Borealis or “Northern Lights,” according to Eric Donovan. He’s an associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Calgary. Prof. Donovan says it has the same arc shape as an aurora but the color is different. Auroras also usually go horizontally, while “Steve” as it’s been named, is vertical.

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