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We haven’t really been following tumblr enough to know if this story exploded here already, but it’s important enough that we felt like it needed to be on BW.

This picture comes from NASA, and represents data from the Spitzer space telescope, showing spectra for organic molecules in extrasolar space.

That’s right; complex carbon molecules, some of them possibly building blocks for life, floating around space.

You may be wondering how this is happening.

Well, there’s a team of researchers at the University of Hong Kong who asked just that, and came up with this answer:

A new look at the interstellar dust permeating the universe has revealed hints of organic matter that could be created naturally by stars, scientists say.

Researchers at the University of Hong Kong observed stars at different evolutionary phases and found that they are able to produce complex organic compounds and eject them into space, filling the regions between stars. The compounds are so complex that their chemical structures resemble the makeup of coal and petroleum, the study’s lead author Sun Kwok, of the University of Hong Kong, said.

That’s right.  Stars may be producing and emitting all manner of organic compounds.  And if that’s the case, some things that we consider unique to Earth might be a lot more widespread.

Notes

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