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Naphthalene Found In Outer Space

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the wake-me-up-when-they-find-remulac dept.

Space 180

Adam Korbitz writes with an excerpt from his blog on an exciting discovery in space: "A team of researchers led by Spanish scientists has published their discovery of the complex molecule naphthalene in an interstellar star-forming cloud, indicating many prebiotic organic molecules necessary for life as we know it could have been present when our own solar system formed. According to the new research — published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters — the naphthalene molecules were discovered 700 light-years from Earth in a star-forming region of the constellation Perseus, in the direction of the star Cernis 52."

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180 comments

wow (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25089813)

nobody fucking cares you sweaty people

OIL! (4, Funny)

sanman2 (928866) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089911)

Time to invade

Re:OIL! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25090169)

massive oil dude!?

Re:OIL! (5, Funny)

linumax (910946) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090205)

Time to invade

Time to Liberate(TM).

Re:OIL! (1)

Vetrik (1311131) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090457)

Time to be Ignorant! Oh wait...

Re:OIL! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25090491)

Correcting somebody on the internet? Gasp! Why, you must be a grammar nazi! I am shocked and appalled!

  If there's any gasoline in your garage, then I am gonna liberate the shit outta you.

Re:OIL! (4, Funny)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 5 years ago | (#25091315)

Woot, just 1400 years of flying there and back and it's all ours on Earth!

This is evidence of life. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25089819)

Naphtalene--or better known as the primary ingredient in MOTHBALLS
 
At last. We know the secret coordinates of Mothra. (S)he lies in the constellation Perseus. This may lead us to discover the origins of Godzilla.
 
My girlfriend brought over brownies...

Re:This is evidence of life. (2, Funny)

DrMrLordX (559371) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089857)

Great, now all we need to do is stick it in my car's gas tank to improve fuel economy [consumeraffairs.com] ! Yay!

The reason why this is important (4, Interesting)

spineboy (22918) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090107)

Napthalene is a conjugated benzene ring compound. This then somewhat shows that complex ring compounds can be made in space. If these, then, can be made, then the jump to the DNA bases, and amino acid bases is not too far away.

Re:The reason why this is important (4, Interesting)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090411)

Perhaps, then, the Star Trek vision of the future, where all life forms are similar, could be correct, at least to the extent that they're all DNA and carbon based? Also, wouldn't this push the chances of life evolving on a suitable planet close to 100%?

Re:The reason why this is important (4, Funny)

Kagura (843695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090429)

The chance of life evolving on a suitable planet is already 100%. ;)

Re:The reason why this is important (4, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090591)

Unless I'm misreading your comment, you're mistaking observed rate for overall chance.

Re:The reason why this is important (1)

Whiteox (919863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090781)

Silicone based lifeforms in ST.org is a bit different.
ST2 had intelligent microbial lifeforms.
Which ST are you talking about?

Re:The reason why this is important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25091313)

If alien life is organic, what are the odds we can breed with them? If we can, I'll volunteer first for a piece of space ass!

Re:This is evidence of life. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090209)

I thought it was the name of a rock group, y'know, like Disaster Area. Or maybe some giants out of the Old Testament. Something exciting. Mothballs are exciting only to moths.

Re:This is evidence of life. (3, Funny)

Whiteox (919863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090833)

Mothballs are exciting only to moths.
A moth without balls is a eunuch.
I would say that mothballs are extremely important to moths.

Re:This is evidence of life. (5, Funny)

Laser Dan (707106) | more than 5 years ago | (#25091053)

Mothballs are exciting only to moths.
A moth without balls is a eunuch.
I would say that mothballs are extremely important to moths.

This is Slashdot so I can see I need to explain something.
I apologise for using a term you may be unfamiliar with, but a moth without balls is called a female moth.

Re:This is evidence of life. (1)

Whiteox (919863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25091233)

but a moth without balls is called a female moth.
I take your point. At the time I wrote that, I was thinking of Ned Nederlander in 3 Amigos when a Tiger Moth flies overhead.
[Dusty Bottoms and Lucky Day thinks Ned Nederlander is saying "mail" plane]

Dusty Bottoms: What is it doing here?
Ned Nederlander: I think it's a male plane.
Dusty Bottoms: How can you tell?
Ned Nederlander: Didn't you notice its little balls?

And in case this needs explaining, the little balls he was referring to was the undercarriage of the Tiger Moth.

Re:This is evidence of life. (5, Funny)

AnomaliesAndrew (908394) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090217)

So not only are the universe and my grandparents both extremely old, but they both smell the same now... great.

Re:This is evidence of life. (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090289)

Mothballs repel moths. Mothra's in the other direction... or hiding on Earth.

Re:This is evidence of life. (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090421)

Naphthalene? In MY outer spaces?

It's more likely than you think!

Re:This is evidence of life. (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090883)

Naphtalene--or better known as the primary ingredient in MOTHBALLS At last. We know the secret coordinates of Mothra. (S)he lies in the constellation Perseus. This may lead us to discover the origins of Godzilla.

Mothra? Godzilla? Don't be silly, now. All we really know is that Rebellion will have to do without Mon Mothma's leadership in that area of the galaxy.

Re:This is evidence of life. (1)

winphreak (915766) | more than 5 years ago | (#25091323)

I, for one, welcome our new moth ov...

Oh wait, they don't like the smell.

me no RTFA (3, Interesting)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089825)

How exactly does one detect specific molecules, 700 light years away?

Re:me no RTFA (4, Informative)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089829)

With one of these. [wikipedia.org]

Re:me no RTFA (0)

Kagura (843695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089851)

Nice try, but the farthest man-made objects, the Voyager spacecraft duo, have barely left the solar system, let alone fly a spectrometer 700 light years away! Hell, where do you think they would even plug it in?!

Humor attempted, seems failed.

Re:me no RTFA (3, Insightful)

omeomi (675045) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089927)

Humor attempted, seems failed.

Indeed. I wasn't even sure if you were kidding...I was about to mention that Spectroscopy can be done just fine at a distance...

Re:me no RTFA (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25089969)

With one of these. [overstock.com]
   
.
 
.
 
.
 
times 1E17

Re:me no RTFA (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089859)

Actually, this [wikipedia.org] is a better link.

Re:me no RTFA (4, Informative)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089895)

Sorry, in my hurry I was wrong again. These articles cover the astronomical uses of spectroscopy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astronomical_spectroscopy [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emission_spectrum [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absorption_spectrum [wikipedia.org]

Re:me no RTFA (4, Informative)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089845)

They found the absorption spectrum of the naphthalene cation in the light. \
""We have detected the presence of the naphthalene cation in a cloud of interstellar matter located 700 lightyears from the Earth", says IAC researcher Susana Iglesias Groth."

Re:me no RTFA (1)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089867)

Probably based on some kind of spectral analysis.

Re:me no RTFA (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089961)

How exactly does one detect specific molecules, 700 light years away?

Using Google, of course

     

Re:me no RTFA (0)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090503)

The biggest fucking microscope in the Universe. Where do you think all that Haliburton money went?

Re:me no RTFA (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 5 years ago | (#25091005)

How exactly does one detect specific molecules, 700 light years away?

With these. [wikipedia.org]

And these. [wikipedia.org]

Or maybe there are folks who live there and have

this. [skype.com]

Unbeknownst to many (5, Interesting)

Trails (629752) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089839)

An early draft of Arthur C. Clarke's 2001:A Space Odyssey contained the line

My God, it's full of mothballs

which was changed during editing, but further reinforces the prescience of Mr. Clarke.

Re:Unbeknownst to many (2, Funny)

DrMrLordX (559371) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089871)

I guess you could say the original draft of 2001: A Space Odyssey was mothballed? Hur hur!

deserves a tag (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090041)

This article deserves a "mothballs" tag. :)

I don't understand (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090059)

moths don't have balls?

Re:I don't understand (2, Funny)

lrbays (1208996) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090279)

It doesn't make a bit of difference, guys. The balls are inert.

Re:Unbeknownst to many (3, Funny)

belmolis (702863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090055)

The next thing they'll find is that that region is where all the defunct spaceships are kept.

Naphthalene who? (0)

skeeto (1138903) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089861)

Naphthalene Found In Outer Space

Did they at least offer him a ride back home?

No moths in outer space! (5, Funny)

kybur (1002682) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089863)

I always wondered why there were no moths in outer space. This explains everything!

Re:No moths in outer space! (3, Interesting)

omeomi (675045) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089963)

I always wondered why there were no moths in outer space. This explains everything!

I've always wondered why the elderly are so keen on mothballs. Were there more moths around 75 years ago?

Re:No moths in outer space! (5, Informative)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089981)

I've always wondered why the elderly are so keen on mothballs. Were there more moths around 75 years ago?

Natural fibers are more susceptible to them than synthetics, which we use more of now.

Re:No moths in outer space! (4, Interesting)

arth1 (260657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090259)

Natural fibers are more susceptible to them than synthetics, which we use more of now.

A plausible answer, but a wrong one. It's not just moths that are more scarce inside our homes, but other flying insects too. Few homes have fly paper hanging in various rooms anymore. And young people today panic if they get a bumblebee inside the house -- they simply don't know how to deal with it, because they almost never have to.

The reason is simply that insects had an easier time flying through an open window or chimney than an air conditioner or electric/gas powered heater. The window screen is pretty new too -- even where available earlier, the windows were usually side-hinged and not sliding, and window screens had to be much bigger, and it was a hassle to add and remove them.

These days, you only get large flying insects entering when a door is open.
Cockroaches, ants and other crawling insects, you still get. And fruit flies, which people bring in with plants and produce.

Re:No moths in outer space! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25090451)

And fruit flies, which people bring in with plants and produce.

Except fruit flies aren't actually attracted or related to fruit in any way. Believe me, I looked it up in my gut.

Re:No moths in outer space! (4, Funny)

Kagura (843695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090455)

Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your head? You can look it up. Now, I know some of you are going to say, "I did look it up, and that's not true." That's 'cause you looked it up in a book. Next time, look it up in your gut. I did. My gut tells me that's how our nervous system works.

Also, I am AC.

Re:No moths in outer space! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090987)

I've had wool clothes nibbled by moths, but never polyester.

Re:No moths in outer space! (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25091085)

I've had wool clothes nibbled by moths, but never polyester.

Yes, but chances are that you don't have only synthetics. Not only clothes, but rugs, curtains and much else are made with fibers.

Think of it this way: If you don't eat fish, and there's a smorgasboard in front of you where some plates are fish and some are meat, you're not going to starve. Not even if 3/4 of them are fish.

In my house, there are almost no synthetics at all, due to allergies. Plenty of wool, though. But no moths. Because they don't gain entrance. The restaurant is closed.

Spiffy spacesuits (1)

dominique_cimafranca (978645) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089903)

Great! That means our spacesuits will always be free from molds.

Re:Spiffy spacesuits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25089929)

No, not moUlds. They'll be free of moUths.

Re:Spiffy spacesuits (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25089933)

My nigger spacesuit is mod-free, because mods [wikipedia.org] were fags back then and they're still fags now.

"It came from outer space" (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089905)

That's just Chinese milk processors' excuse for Naphthalene in the milk.

Another win for panspermia theory (4, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089909)

Literally "the origin of life is everywhere," panspermia theory [wikipedia.org] posits that the seeds life exist all over the universe. A related but separate theory called "exogenesis" posits that life began somewhere other than Earth and was delivered here.

We've observed vast clouds of organic material far larger than our galaxy in the reaches of space. Now we've discovered prebiotic chemicals there. It's not that much of a stretch to guess that life-as-we-know-it is not uncommon. Intelligence (such as it is?) may be less common. Given the vastness of space and time it's not unreasonable to hope that we're not alone.

Re:Another win for panspermia theory (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25090029)

You sound like the type of person that's just ITCHING for the opportunity to say "panspermia" to a girl on a date.

(Don't.)

Re:Another win for panspermia theory (2, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090091)

Dewd. The girls that eat up panspermia are teh hawtness.

Now escape mom's basement, k?

/Some elements of post may be parent specific.

Re:Another win for panspermia theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25090409)

OMG, you have to fry it up for them now? I'm soooo out of touch with the young generation!

Re:Another win for panspermia theory (2, Funny)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090561)

Dewd. The girls that eat up panspermia are teh hawtness.

Eww, I hope that's not the part specific to your parents. TMI.

Re:Another win for panspermia theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25090299)

To hope?

You had to invoke (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090341)

Pandora.

To hope? (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090467)

Second response

Perhaps you're right. "To hope" ignores that you should be careful what you wish for.

Maybe "To expect" is a better term.

Misread that one (3, Insightful)

Cylix (55374) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089913)

At first I thought it said Neanderthal.

This would be so much cooler then Naphtalene.

My first thought was something along these lines.

Exactly how did he get out there?

I suspected it was a crude version of this... http://www.defensetech.org/archives/002387.html [defensetech.org]

Re:Misread that one (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090007)

...or an overly-successful mate toss [mobygames.com] .

There's a giant cloud of Naptha in space? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25089941)

So? All that means is that somewhere out there, in the deep regions of space, someone FINALLY had the decency to blow up a Walmart.

isn't that the stuff they use in mothballs? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089943)

so some idiot doesn't know moths can't survive in space

So... (1)

baby_robots (990618) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089953)

Space has been mathballed? [wikipedia.org]

simple molecule (3, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089959)

napthalene is a simple aromatic hydrocarbon, basically one benzene ring fused with another. molecular formula C10H8. hydrocarbons can be cracked under certain conditions to produce various aromatic hydrocarbons so finding it in space could be fairly common if there are hydrocarbons near a source capable of cracking them.

Re:simple molecule (4, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090045)

napthalene is a simple aromatic hydrocarbon, basically one benzene ring fused with another. molecular formula C10H8. hydrocarbons can be cracked under certain conditions to produce various aromatic hydrocarbons so finding it in space could be fairly common if there are hydrocarbons near a source capable of cracking them.

Great. Now you need to explain why by accident vast quantities of the organic material hydrocarbons were converted to napthalene in sufficient quantity to be detected at a range of 400 lightyears, and then explain how this event is locally unique so that it didn't happen in every corner of the universe. Good luck with that. May I offer you a noodle? You need only let it touch you to feel its effects.

Would it really be that hard? (3, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090347)

While the production of naphthalene is rare, I doubt it is unique. They are only looking 700 light years out.

You figure that there's some set mixing, temperature and pressure that coupled with the right raw materials, kicks out different kinds of organic chemicals. Park the right cloud of raw good next to the right kind of star and in the right kind of gravity area, and, it seems reasonable that all sorts of organics might be found eventually all over the universe.

For all we know, our solar system just whipped right through a cloud of stellar cooked organics, and we practically just have life rained down on our little world.

Re:Would it really be that hard? (4, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090381)

For all we know, our solar system just whipped right through a cloud of stellar cooked organics, and we practically just have life rained down on our little world.

And since all the stars we can closely observe have planets, to expect that the star that went supernova and gave us all the elements above Iron did not also have them is perhaps silly.

So... Is the "stuff of life" common or not? Further study is needed and is under way. We may discover in the Oort cloud the seeds of life. If we do, that should lay the question to rest.

Re:Would it really be that hard? (0, Troll)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090575)

You dumbass, stop with the science. We all know you want to say that Jesus did it.

Re:Would it really be that hard? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25090825)

You heathen! The FSM did it! Jesus is a false god.

Re:simple molecule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25090933)

Great. Now you need to explain why by accident vast quantities of the organic material hydrocarbons were converted to napthalene in sufficient quantity to be detected at a range of 400 lightyears, and then explain how this event is locally unique so that it didn't happen in every corner of the universe. Good luck with that. May I offer you a noodle? You need only let it touch you to feel its effects.

TFA implies it did happen in every corner of the universe.
 
Aromatic hydrocarbons tend to be much more thermodynamically stable than nonaromatic hydrocarbons, so it's not really a surprise (to me) that they've been detected. Show me a cloud of straight-chain hdrocarbons with comparable molecular weights, and I'll be uch more impressed.

new discovery (2)

Moblaster (521614) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089971)

Mothballs in spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace!

I didn't know anybody lost it (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089989)

nuf sed

I don't believe it! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090001)

Moths don't actually have balls! And they can't survive in vacuum!

This must be a mistake.

Re:I don't believe it! (4, Funny)

ufoolme (1111815) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090181)

You obversely haven't played spore.

abiogenesis is cool! (4, Informative)

purpleraison (1042004) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090043)

For those not familiar with the field of abiogenesis, it is a truly remarkable field of study. The search for the first origin of life on our planet, or rather when organic matter achieved 'life' as we understand it.

I find it quite interesting personally, how the primordial sludge brewed into our very first ancestor.

Excelsior!!

Re:abiogenesis is cool! (4, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090721)

Good video explaination of abiogensis [youtube.com] , from the museum of science. No gods, no aliens, no impossible improbability, no fungus covered comets, no lightning striking mud puddles, just chemistry and physics! Nice soundtrack too....enjoy!

ummmm /confused (0)

weirdcrashingnoises (1151951) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090167)

we have just recently developed the technology to detect planets, and most of them are "too big" relative to earth...

yet we can detect microbes 700 light years away?

hmmmmmm

Re:ummmm /confused (4, Informative)

usul294 (1163169) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090245)

When a electron leaves an excited state it emits a photon. Every element and molecule has a unique set of frequencies for these transfers. So by looking at the light coming off of it, you can figure out whats in it. Its called spectroscopy. If in high school chemistry you ever burned chemicals and used a cardboard thing over your eye to see lines, you've got the basic idea.

Re:ummmm /confused (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25090291)

If you don't know the difference between microbes and molecules, you should probably go read some science books.

another alternative answer would be (1)

louden obscure (766926) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090191)

termites.

slashdots gettin old.... (1)

gearloos (816828) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090237)

submit a story... yawn.....

E.T. Run Away (1)

berenixium (920883) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090261)

I don't think we should discover life in solar systems outside our own. We'll only go over there eventually and ruin everything for them (like here).

Naphthalene in space. (1)

pjy (906736) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090277)

And that shows why there aren't any moths in space.

Naphthalene Found (1)

alxkit (941262) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090317)

so alies all had arthritis? or was it tendonitis? if they found naphthalene, are there any remnants of burning bushes? cuz that would be totally AWSOME.

Hi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25090319)

hi :)

OMG, they're here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25090439)

I, for one, welcome our napthalene-spawned extraterrestrial overlords! Even if they are anonymous and cowardly!

Re:OMG, they're here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25091095)

We are not anonymous and cowardly. Our names have no translations in your language, and your phonetic ability is too inferior to pronounce them.

no moths (0, Redundant)

overcaffein8d (1101951) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090395)

at least we know that there aren't moths up there

Eega Beeva! (2, Insightful)

Neoncat (1015169) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090413)

This just proofs that Eega Beeva is out there, somewhere...

Zippo fuel (1)

ichbineinneuben (1065378) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090601)

I'm relieved to know that even in deep space, I'll find fuel for my Zippo.

oh great - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25090715)

just what we need! Space Termites.

Again? (3, Informative)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090877)

The same observatory reported the same thing 15 years ago: www.iac.es/folleto/research/preprints/files/PP08019.pdf

"And we're going to KEEP discovering it until you get it right!"

Pournelle's church explanation (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25091173)

Newer technologies in telescopes determined that the Mote in God's Eye is in fact the Moth in God's Eye,

All the naphthalene out there are there because God's will, to see if can get rid of that pest.
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