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Old 27th October 2011, 04:03 PM
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Voltairine Voltairine is offline
There will still be cheese
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: A pale blue dot
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Default Life from the stars

A few reasons I've posted this. 1) It's by a couple of Hong Kong researchers(!); 2) life on earth could have been brought here from other stars; and 3) complex organic compounds can form in space even when no life is present.

Science buggering up the bible again. Tsk.

Mixed aromatic–aliphatic organic nanoparticles as carriers of unidentified infrared emission features
Sun Kwok & Yong Zhang
Nature, (2011) doi:10.1038/nature10542

Unidentified infrared emission bands at wavelengths of 3–20 micrometres are widely observed in a range of environments in our Galaxy and in others1. Some features have been identified as the stretching and bending modes of aromatic compounds2, 3, and are commonly attributed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon molecules4, 5. The central argument supporting this attribution is that single-photon excitation of the molecule can account for the unidentified infrared emission features observed in ‘cirrus’ clouds in the diffuse interstellar medium6. Of the more than 160 molecules identified in the circumstellar and interstellar environments, however, not one is a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon molecule. The detections of discrete and broad aliphatic spectral features suggest that the carrier of the unidentified infrared emission features cannot be a pure aromatic compound. Here we report an analysis of archival spectroscopic observations and demonstrate that the data are most consistent with the carriers being amorphous organic solids with a mixed aromatic–aliphatic structure. This structure is similar to that of the organic materials found in meteorites, as would be expected if the Solar System had inherited these organic materials from interstellar sources.
The presence of insoluble organic matter in meteorites is evidence that complex organic solids form in nature with no difficulty. The fact that insoluble organic matter and circumstellar dust have similar chemical structures offers the possibility that Solar System organics may have a stellar connection.
(I have full access but could be paywall)
What, indeed, is an atheist? He is one who destroys delusions which are harmful to humanity in order to lead men back to nature, to reality, to reason. Baron d'Holbach


If we go back to the beginnings of things, we shall always find that ignorance and fear created the gods; that imagination, rapture and deception embellished them; that weakness worships them; that custom spares them; and that tyranny favours them in order to profit from the blindness of men. Baron d'Holbach
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