Orion Nebula Teeming with Life's Ingredients

[caption id="attachment_29984" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="HIFI spectrum of the Orion Nebula, superimposed on a Spitzer image of Orion: ESA, HEXOS and the HIFI Consortium"][/caption]

This spectrograph of the Orion Nebula (biggified here) was made by the Heterodyne Instrument for the Far Infrared (HIFI), which is integrated into the Herschel Telescope, and measures molecular characteristics to identify them. Throughout the enormous span of the nebula, scientists have identified every chemical, compound and ingredient needed for life to cook.

Since this is an example of a stellar nursery, where new stars are born, it seems to me that these components of life are flourishing throughout the Universe. The debate about whether we are obligated to seed it with life can be put to rest. At the very least, the foundation for life to form is not specific to our neighborhood; and it's entirely probable that life is out there, in many places.  But for now, it's an exciting look at what the Universe is made of.
A characteristic feature is the spectral richness: among the organic molecules identified in this spectrum are water, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, methanol, dimethyl ether, hydrogen cyanide, sulphur oxide, sulphur dioxide and their isotope analogues. It is expected that new molecules will also be identified. This spectrum is the first glimpse at the spectral richness of regions of star and planet formation. -Link

(via Wired Science)

Newest 2
Newest 2 Comments

"It's life, Jim, but not as we know it!"

...Meanwhile SETI is listening for signals of civilisation saying no we still don't receive any signal of life, while that whole galaxy is just aware of us and boredly looking at primitive us....
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Commenting is closed.





Email This Post to a Friend
"Orion Nebula Teeming with Life's Ingredients"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.

 

Success! Your email has been sent!

close window