The main ingredient in industrial plastic number 5, has been detected in the atmosphere of the Saturn moon.
The propylene molecule was missing in Voyager 1's probe of the moon in 1980, and had baffled scientists until now.
Credit: NASA / GSFC
|Sample Analysis at Mars instrument (SAM)|
"Our work shows that the basic building blocks of life can be assembled anywhere in the Solar System and perhaps beyond. However, the catch is that these building blocks need the right conditions in order for life to flourish. Excitingly, our study widens the scope for where these important ingredients may be formed in the Solar System and adds another piece to the puzzle of how life on our planet took root."Dr Mark Price, co-author from the University of Kent, adds: "This process demonstrates a very simple mechanism whereby we can go from a mix of simple molecules, such as water and carbon-dioxide ice, to a more complicated molecule, such as an amino acid. This is the first step towards life. The next step is to work out how to go from an amino acid to even more complex molecules such as proteins."