Life's first handshake: Chiral molecule detected in interstellar space

Scientists applaud the first detection of a "handed" molecule, (propylene oxide) in interstellar space. It was detected, primarily with the NSF's Green Bank Telescope, near the center of our Galaxy in Sagittarius (Sgr) B2, a massive star-forming region.

Propylene oxide is one of a class of so-called "chiral" molecules -- molecules that have an identical chemical composition, but right- and left-handed versions.

Chiral molecules are essential for life and their discovery in deep space may help scientists understand why life on Earth relies on a certain handedness to perform key biological functions.


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