A molecule was found 25,000 light-years away, and even though it’s very tiny, it may be all we need to solve one of the biggest mysteries about how life is formed in the universe. The name of this awesome molecule is propylene oxide, and it demonstrates a property that many of us know as chirality. Chirality molecules exist in forms that mirror each other.
On earth, most living things make use of molecules that have only one side; for example, the sugars we find in DNA are all right-handed, that’s why the DNA has a spiral double helix shape, and this condition is what we call homochirality.
A chiral molecule has never been found outside the solar system, so the discovery of this propylene oxide is simply unusual, and for scientists, this is a milestone. For one, science has not been able to explain how life started to rely on homochirality, but we hope that this discovery will give an added boost to research that’s being carried on the mystery of life in space.