Why the universe glows
For the first time, scientists have identified a complex molecule in a distant part of the solar system, according to research published Thursday in the journal Science. The find brings scientists closer to solving a 30 year old astronomical mystery.
Why it matters: The researchers identified benzonitrile, a molecule made of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen, which is thought to be a building block for two other types of molecules that are possible precursors for life on Earth. By finding it — and developing a technique precise enough to identify specific molecules in distant space — scientists are closer to understanding the types of material that may form planets and the composition of our universe.