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Scientists were thrilled to find evidence of sugar molecules in the gas around a young star, which suggests that the system contains the building blocks of life. The star, called IRAS 16293-2422, is similar in mass to the sun and about 400 light years away in the constellation Ophiuchus. The sugar molecules are called glycolaldehyde and have been seen in space before. What makes this finding unique is that the discovery is very close to a star that is similar to the sun.
“In the disk of gas and dust surrounding this newly formed star, we found glycolaldehyde, which is a simple form of sugar, not much different to the sugar we put in coffee,” said Jes Jørgensen, of the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark, who helped lead the study.