Astrochemistry: June 2019

It is widely believed that water and complex organic molecules (COMs) first form in the ice mantle of dust grains and are subsequently returned into the gas due to grain heating by intense radiation of protostars.

Cyanide and carbon monoxide are both deadly poisons to humans, but compounds containing iron, cyanide, and carbon monoxide discovered in carbon-rich meteorites by a team of scientists at Boise State University and NASA may have helped power life on early Earth.

Scientists using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have confirmed the presence of electrically-charged molecules in space shaped like soccer balls, shedding light on the mysterious contents of the interstellar medium (ISM) - the gas and dust that fills interstellar space.

Magnetochiral phenomena may be responsible for the selection of chiral states of biomolecules in meteoric environments.

Because of their importance in biological systems, in our understanding of the solar system and in other applications, seven heterocycles; furan, imidazole, pyridine, pyrimidine, pyrrole, quinoline and isoquinoline have been astronomically searched for in different molecular clouds.

The recent identification of the first complex chiral molecule, propylene oxide (PrO) in space opens up a new window to further study the origin of homochirality on the Earth.