Chiral Molecules

“Right-handed” and “left-handed” molecule compounds are essential to all life on Earth, and have been found in meteors as well as comets, but now, for the first time, one has been spotted in interstellar space. Finding such chiral molecules, or “life’s first handshake”, in space, can help researchers understand the development of life on Earth, which is rich in those complex molecules. Continue reading for a video and more information. Click here for a few bonus space images.

“This [discovery] is going to provide us with a laboratory to try to test theories about the role that chiral molecules played in the origins of life here on Earth and how that chirality might play a role in the origins of life elsewhere in the galaxy,” Brett McGuire, a researcher at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Virginia and co-first author on the new work, said at the AAS press conference today.