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Des chercheurs ont décidé de scruter des disques protoplanétaires en quête de molécules organiques. Leur objectif : comprendre si la vie a pu émerger ailleurs dans l’Univers. © Mopic, Adobe Stock

Numerous discovery of complex organic molecules in young planetary systems

Is there life anywhere other than the earth? That is the question. But if astronomers now knew that there were planets everywhere in the universe, they would not yet know whether they present the conditions necessary for the origin of life. The work done using the Alma telescope now gives some answers. Where planets form they bring to light large amounts of organic molecules.

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[EN VIDÉO] A prototype disk torn by its three stars
Space Shelter offers many subtle events such as violent events. This is evidenced by observations made with the help of VLT and Alma, which emerge after the birth of the planets.

What if the chemical conditions that led to the emergence of life on Earth were not ultimately abnormal? This is a question raised by recent works published within the framework of the map project (Molecules with alma in the amounts that make up the planet) More than 20 scientific articles have been published Astronomical Physics Sub-Series, The Researchers Explain in detail how they found it in the heart Protoplanetary discs Young stars around, “Large Reservoirs” From Molecules Organic.

These molecules, specify Astronomers, Are not based simple molecules Carbon As Carbon monoxide (CO) is found in abundance in space. They are more comprehensive. Theories make them “Ingredients” To create the basic molecules of biochemistry on Earth. Laboratory tests have confirmed this. When conditions are right, they make it possible to develop Sugars, From Amino acids And even the components of ribonucleic acid – are famous ARN. Bricks are essential for life.

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Find out if these molecules are where the planets form

Many contexts in which researchers have already been able to find these types of complex organic molecules may qualify as uninteresting. “At this time, we wanted to know if these molecules were present at the birthplaces of the planets Protoplanetary discs, John Lee, an astronomer at the University of Leeds (United Kingdom) Connected.

More organic molecules than expected

These observations were appreciated TelescopeAlma – L ‘Atacama Large Millimeter / Submillimeter Array (Chile) – capable of detecting very weak signals from molecules located in cold regionsThe universe . Such signals Digital Entrepreneurs They inform researchers about the identification of flammable molecules.

Thus astronomers studied five protoplanetary disks located between 300 and 500 Light years Of the earth. Their goal: to map the chemical composition of these disks. Also look at how the molecules are distributed where the planets form. Researchers have thus identified Organic molecules Like simple Hydrogen cyanide (HCN), ethyl (c2H) or Formaldehyde(H.2CO) in disk regions Rock planets .

But researchers have identified three more important molecules: cyanoacetylene (HC)3N), acetonitrile (ch3CN) and cyclopropenylide (CC)3H.2) “Our analysis shows that these analytes are located in these inner parts of the discs mainly at our size. The Solar System10 to 100 times more than the samples predicted, Says John Ely. Precisely in these regions AsteroidsAnd this Comets. These substances are believed to have sown our earth. Astronomers thus imagine that a process similar to that of the beginning of life on our planet could occur on these protoplanetary disks.

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Understanding how the raw materials of life come together

If there are an abundance of such molecules in protoplanetary discs, more complex molecules can be found. We will continue our research in this direction with Alma. If we get results, we will be even closer to understanding how the raw materials of life can be grouped around other stars.John Rat mentions.

What the researchers also noticed was an uneven distribution between these molecules and even in protoplanetary discs. This suggests that planets that form on different disks or at different locations on the same disk may also form in completely different chemical environments. So some planets can be created with everything needed to express life, while not by their neighbors. There is no doubt that Alma will allow these basic questions to be clarified a little more in the future.

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