Sunday, March 30, 2008

Organic molecules outside our solar system

Wired reports: [edited]

Scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope have for the first time found the telltale signature of methane, an organic molecule, in the atmosphere of a planet outside our solar system.

Methane is one of the chemicals of life, an organic compound in the class of molecules containing carbon. However, no life is likely to exist on the large, gaseous planet known as HD 189733b [Catchy, Ed]. Its daily temperatures can reach 1,340 degrees Fahrenheit.

"These measurements are a dress rehearsal for future searches for life," said Mark Swain, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the lead author of a new study that appears in Nature tomorrow. "If we were able to detect [methane] on a more hospitable planet in the future, it would really be something exciting."


Big Bad Pete said...

Heck, just when you think that you've found somewhere where you can f*rt and belch in private, someone points a telescope in your direction !!!

brett jordan said...