Museum of Science and Industry

Just like it does in Earth candy, sugar is creating a buzz in the universe! Scientists recently discovered simple sugar particles in the gas surrounding a star 400 light years away. While this does not mean that aliens are out there whipping up lemon meringue pies, it does have implications for other forms of life in the solar system.

To be clear, these are not the pure white crystals you might associate with "sugar." Rather, they are very simple molecules called glycoaldehyde. On our planet, they are most commonly found in the form of an odorless powder, and believed to be part of the process of creating RNA, found in all living cells. So this discovery suggests that life could form in other places in the universe. Pretty sweet if you ask me.

Do you think there's life out there? Sweeten the debate with your comments below.

Starburst(!) galaxy NGC 3310 image by NASA.

  • Readers' Comments (1)
Steve Noettl
September 29, 2012

No, We are the ONLY ONES, the lonely ones, and we've got senseless and inane problems that will waste our time and throw our species into extinction. There is no hope. And by the time anyone or anything finds us, we'll be some splintery fragments left over from a terrible colossal mass destruction of the entire planet, and some left over paper work flying around, and some plastic water bottles, and some Furby's. But that's ALL of what they will find. Nothing else they will find. Nothing. Nothing at all. I'm just kidding. Yes. Sure. There's life out there. We're unfortunately stuck with having to view everything billions of years into the past, but eventually I Dream of Jeanie and Bewitched went to color and everyone became progressively happier. They even re-designed amplifiers so musicians could play like Jimi Hendrix without burning down the entire venue due to a massive power surge. So there is hope. I just hope we hang around long enough to enjoy seeing life exist in the universe in REAL time and not billions of years into the past.

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