Tag Archives: papers

The Thermodynamics of Life

Now I’m a big fan of alternative biochemistry theories in the search for extraterrestrial life. It seems logical to think that given the size of the universe and the number of possible environments out there, life might have found more … Continue reading

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α’s always welcome at the helium party!

I stumbled upon a fascinating paper on arXiv the other day. Anyone who works with lasers should be familiar with the concept of stimulated emission – the means by which photons excite electrons which, in turn, emit more photons (identical, … Continue reading

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Life in the clouds?

As a lot of people will know by now, the human race is officially going back to Jupiter and its moons. It’s currently scheduled to get there by about 2026. I’m seriously looking forward to it, myself. There’s an awful … Continue reading

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How chemists can help astrobiologists…

Quite a puzzler in astrochemistry and astrobiology is where exactly prebiotic amino acids form. We know they can form in interstellar space. We’ve found them inside chondritic meteorites. All the ingredients exist in the interstellar medium. There have even been … Continue reading

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Extragalactic molecules!

When I saw this paper’s title I was intrigued. When I realised what this paper was actually about, I was genuinely enthralled! A couple of months ago, I was wondering whether it would be possible to take a gamma ray … Continue reading

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Could we help The Sun cheat death?

Since they were first discovered in 1952, blue stragglers have baffled astronomers. Appearing strangely youthful amid their ageing brethren, many now believe blue stragglers are formed when two smaller stars merge. There is, however, one theory which is rather more… … Continue reading

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A Simple Kind of Life

As many an astrochemist will tell you without hesitation, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are important molecules to study, because they’re directly relevant to the origins of life. We tend to repeat this like a mantra, and perhaps we don’t always fully … Continue reading

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Protonation’s what you need

Ah, the humble proton. Simple, stable, and able to drastically affect the chemistry of other molecules — and nowhere more so than in the Interstellar Medium (ISM). H2 molecules, for instance are readily protonated in dense interstellar clouds, forming H3+, … Continue reading

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Could life have evolved closer than we thought?

Traditionally, anyone seriously researching extraterrestrial life has tended to ignore red dwarfs. Typically a disproportionately low number of them have been included in SETI searches, for instance. They’re troublesome, ill-tempered little things which like to randomly flare up for seemingly … Continue reading

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Why space should taste like strawberries…

Glycolaldehyde is what everyone’s talking about. And when I say everyone, what I really mean is some astrochemists. To give you the background, glycolaldehyde is a fairly simple hydrocarbon molecule, and arguably the simplest known sugar (a “diose”). I say … Continue reading

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