Protoplanetary disc of young star MWC 480 has complex organic molecules, says ALMA

It has finally been proved that we are not special; in other words, the complex organic molecules constituting our body are not special. This is real good news for all those researchers who have been hunting for extraterrestrial life since past several years.

The findings of the above study were published in the latest edition of science journal Nature. During the study, astronomers have come across the first substantial signs of complex carbon-based molecules in outer space. These are the same molecules that are responsible for existence of life on Earth.

The complex carbon-based molecules have been found in a protoplanetary disk. For those who don’t know: a protoplanetary disk is a place where cosmic building blocks accumulate for creating planets within a newly formed star system. Cyanides found in these disks are the structural units of life; without these cyanides, formation of proteins wouldn’t have been possible.


Karin Öberg, the author of the study, explained that our solar system, during its initial days, was also filled with complex organics and water; he informed that astronomers have come to this conclusion after observing different comets. Öberg teaches astronomy at the Harvard University in the United States.

Are you wondering how comets helped astronomers in understanding the composition of early solar system? Comets are known for locking up molecules housed by our solar system during its early days. Thus, scientists interested in gathering knowledge about the composition of early solar system spend a lot of time studying comets.

To put it more bluntly, comets provide researchers with useful clues about the formation of Earth. For instance, this time, study of these comets has revealed that some organic molecules found in the infant star system were also present in the pre-planetary days of our solar system.

According to Öberg, he and his team are now confident that it would be wrong to assume that we are unique. He added that several other infant solar systems that are in their pre-planetary days also have the potential of having life. Öberg has moved one step ahead and said that we might even see formation of similar kind of life in outer space as we have on Earth.