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Sweet Molecule Could Lead Us To Alien Life

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the you-catch-more-aliens-with-honey dept.

Space 72

Matt_dk writes "Scientists have detected an organic sugar molecule that is directly linked to the origin of life in a region of our galaxy where habitable planets could exist. The international team of researchers used the IRAM radio telescope in France to detect the molecule in a massive star forming region of space, some 26,000 light years from Earth."

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um (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25905789)

...sweet

Do the aliens taste sweet? (1, Funny)

dmbasso (1052166) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905795)

Oh, I see another PETA game coming...

Re:Do the aliens taste sweet? (4, Funny)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 5 years ago | (#25906387)

Oh, I see another PETA game coming...

You mean People Eating Tasty Aliens?

Re:Do the aliens taste sweet? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25906433)

Do aliens have penises too? If they do, is that an argument for a "common designer" as in intelligent design?

Re:Do the aliens taste sweet? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25906837)

This is not a joking matter.

We'd better be concerned whether or not there is an AETP (Aliens for the Ethical Treatment of Pets) because, you know, we'll make great pets.

Re:Do the aliens taste sweet? (1)

giantweevil (1216540) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907051)

You call excessively violent, easily angered things pets?

You must own a pit bull.

Re:Do the aliens taste sweet? (1)

Sebilrazen (870600) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907663)

You call excessively violent, easily angered things pets?

You must own a pit bull.

...or a certain Alaskan Governor.

Re:Do the aliens taste sweet? (3, Interesting)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911721)

Stranger: Well, it isn't all of us that are made for wild beasts, and that's what it's got to be. That's why I watched you. Watched you. All these little office workers that used to live in these houses -- they'd be no good. They haven't any stuff to 'em. They just used to run off to work. I've seen hundreds of 'em, running wild to catch their commuters' train in the morning for fear that they'd get canned if they didn't; running back at night afraid that they won't be in time for dinner. Lives insured and a little invested in case of accidents. Yeah, and on Sundays, worried about the hereafter. The Martians will be a godsend for those guys. Nice roomy cages, good food, careful breeding, no worries. Yeah, after a week or so chasing about the fields on empty stomachs they'll come and be glad to be caught.
Pierson: You've thought it all out, haven't you?
Stranger: Sure, you bet I have! And that isn't all. These Martians will make pets of some of them, train 'em to do tricks. Who knows? Get sentimental over the pet boy who grew up and had to be killed. Yeah. And some, maybe, they'll train to hunt us.
Pierson: No, that's impossible. No human being....
Stranger: Yes they will. There's men who'll do it gladly. If one of them ever comes after me, why....

Re:Do the aliens taste sweet? (1)

PaganRitual (551879) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911769)

I can only hope that maybe martians will do better than we've done.

Re:Do the aliens taste sweet? (1)

tyrione (134248) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907457)

Or the truly subversive meaning of PETA:

Premenstrual Extraterrestrial Tree Activists.

Re:Do the aliens taste sweet? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 5 years ago | (#25920123)

Oh, I see another PETA game coming...

If PETA were serious, they'd put 100% of their efforts into developing an ethically superior food that's cheaper and tastier than meat.

They don't, so they're not.

QED.

Re:Do the aliens taste sweet? (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#25932533)

If PETA were serious, they'd put 100% of their efforts into developing an ethically superior food that's cheaper and tastier than meat. They don't, so they're not. QED.

Disclaimer: I'm not a fan of PETA. I'm not even a vegetarian, but that's a crap argument, and slapping "QED" at the end doesn't make it more valid.

Stupid fucking analogy coming up: Suppose I got my kicks by driving around residential streets at 110mph, and some do-gooder whined that it was ethically wrong because of the danger to residents and all the dead pensioners wrapped around my bumper. Would it be a valid response to say that the road safety campaigners should STFU until they come up with an ethically superior and cheaper alternative to running people over at high speed a la Death Race 2000?

No, of course it wouldn't. PETA *could* argue (whether you or I agree or not) that eating animals is wrong, regardless of whether or not it was "tasty". Obviously it could be cool if they could come up with a really good meat substitute, but that's not their main aim.

Re:Do the aliens taste sweet? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 5 years ago | (#25936617)

Obviously it could be cool if they could come up with a really good meat substitute, but that's not their main aim.

Why do they put so many resources into advertising "Meat is Death" if they're not trying to convince people to stop eating meat?

The fraction of people who eat meat "because it's death" is vanishingly small and would gladly switch if an alternative were available. But the alternative isn't Boca burgers and hummus because that doesn't meet the consumers' requirements. So, until such an alternative is available (I believe that's inevitable) most people will eat meat.

Re:Do the aliens taste sweet? (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937343)

Why do they put so many resources into advertising "Meat is Death" if they're not trying to convince people to stop eating meat?

Where the heck did I imply that they weren't? Of course they are.

The fraction of people who eat meat "because it's death" is vanishingly small

Are you referring to a tiny percentage of people who like meat *because* it's dead animals? I'm not sure what point you're trying to make here(!)

and would gladly switch if an alternative were available. But the alternative isn't Boca burgers and hummus because that doesn't meet the consumers' requirements. So, until such an alternative is available (I believe that's inevitable) most people will eat meat.

Where do you draw the line with an acceptable alternative? PETA may argue (again, you might or might not agree) that current alternatives are good enough if you're aware of the suffering involved in the creation of meat.

You can disagree, but that's still a valid perspective to argue from and therefore your glib argument that because PETA aren't devoting 100% of their effort to creating a perfect meat alternative they aren't serious is flawed. QED.

Re:Do the aliens taste sweet? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937631)

PETA may argue (again, you might or might not agree) that current alternatives are good enough if you're aware of the suffering involved in the creation of meat.

Right, they do. But empirically lots of people are aware but do not change their eating habits because the alternatives don't meet their requirements. So my contention is that their base assumption is wrong, that education won't convert nearly enough people to attain their goals.

And don't get hung up on 'qed', it was meant to be glib.

Re:Do the aliens taste sweet? (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#25951577)

So my contention is that their base assumption is wrong

That's your contention, and certainly arguable, but it's not an indisputable fact. So to imply that simply because PETA haven't based their strategy around it they aren't serious (your original point)... is incorrect (*my* original point!)

Re:Do the aliens taste sweet? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 5 years ago | (#25951729)

That's your contention, and certainly arguable, but it's not an indisputable fact.

Well, how would one measure success then?

Re:Do the aliens taste sweet? (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#25952413)

That's your contention, and certainly arguable, but it's not an indisputable fact.

Well, how would one measure success then?

No idea, and not my problem! Since you were the one whose an argument relied on this being clearly true, the onus is on you, not me. :)

Re:Do the aliens taste sweet? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 5 years ago | (#25952675)

No idea, and not my problem! Since you were the one whose an argument relied on this being clearly true, the onus is on you, not me. :)

Meat sales continue to grow [slashdot.org] despite PETA's campaign. That's prima facia evidence their campaign is not having the impact desired (to get people to stop eating meat). You stated that this this was arguable, not an indisputable fact, so I was asking for how you'd make that argument, since it does seem to be an indisputable fact.

Re:Do the aliens taste sweet? (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#25952969)

Perhaps meat sales would have grown faster had PETA not campaigned. Perhaps they see it as a long-term campaign. Perhaps they *will* change their strategy in response to the evidence. Who knows?

It's not indisputable.

Another report ? (1, Funny)

kasnol (210803) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905803)

Tired of hearing journals suggest places may have foreign life... wonder when will there be "concrete" evidence to show life from other planets ?

Hopefully Soon ~

Re:Another report ? (0)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905899)

I hardly think that if aliens want to announce their life to the rest of the universe it will be done through concrete slabs sent out into space - or concrete anything sent out into space for that matter.

The evidence is much more likely to come through radio waves, not bits of concrete.

PS. You aren't in an Austin Power movie, you can't use double quotes like that and get away with it on slashdot.

Re:Another report ? (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 5 years ago | (#25906347)

I thought the quotation marks were self-explanatory. He was referring to figurative concrete. Abstract concrete.

Re:Another report ? (2, Funny)

giantweevil (1216540) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907075)

Metaphysical concrete, perhaps. But are we really talking about concrete here?

Tell me about your mother.

Re:Another report ? (1)

codeButcher (223668) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907339)

Lots and lots of black monoliths. Though whether they where made of concrete, or even if they are concrete, can be debated.

Re:Another report ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25907455)

PS. You aren't in an Austin Power movie, you can't use double quotes like that and get away with it on slashdot.

"So" "you" "don't" "like" "double" "quotes" "eh" "Fluffy" "?"

"Well" "I'm" "using" "them" "!"

"What" "are" "you" "planning" "to" "do" "about" "it" "?"

Re:Another report ? (1)

balbord (447248) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910373)

Haven't we determined already that radio waves degrade into noise in a couple of light years :/?

Re:Another report ? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910573)

Don't you remember the story of Moses on the mountain coming back with rocks with messages on them? Sure, they were called stone tablets but who is to say they knew the difference between concrete and stone back then?

-- When I make posts like this, I'm not as worried about offending religious zealots as I am the self proclaimed Atheist. Some people seem to be able to take a joke better then others.

Powerful telescope (0)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905833)

It can detect a molecule in a star 26kly away? Wow!

Re:Powerful telescope (4, Insightful)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905881)

Well, you know how things are. For simplification "the presence of..." or the "signature of" or whatever way you want to phrase it is dropped and implied. It's not incorrect to state something like "we detected the presence of the molecule H2O..." (for example). But you'd not say that, because H2O is a well-known molecule. You'd say something like "we detected H2O". If H2O was not a well-known molecule, then I guess you might say something like "we detected the molecule H2O" to define which molecule you detected.

Re:Powerful telescope (0)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905979)

I think you're missing the GPs point, how can they detect a molecule 26,000 light years away.

Re:Powerful telescope (2, Insightful)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 5 years ago | (#25906031)

I'm not missing the point. Detecting a molecule is very different to detecting the molecule. The word "molecule" does not have to be singular. I realise the GP was probably trying to be funny, or over-pedantic, but the semantics of the summary and the Prof quoted in the story do make sense and obviously does not mean a single molecule.

Re:Powerful telescope (1)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 5 years ago | (#25906151)

Yes, I was trying to be funny and over-pedantic, but "Scientists have detected an organic sugar molecule" still sounds quite singular to me, even though I do know that it means the presence of some quantity of that type of molecule.

Re:Powerful telescope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25906475)

If you ladies are done kissing, there's a nice discussion going on in the rest of the comments. Seriously, just STFU. Both of you...just...STFU.

Re:Powerful telescope (1)

scottrocket (1065416) | more than 5 years ago | (#25906903)

Mis

Re:Powerful telescope (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909551)

If you ladies are done kissing

pix or it didn't happen

Re:Powerful telescope (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25906717)

that's why you read the entire sentence:

Scientists have detected an organic sugar molecule that is directly linked to the origin of life, in a region of our galaxy where habitable planets could exist.

"an organic sugar molecule that is directly linked to the origin of life" does not mean a single physical molecule. anyone who's not contextually impaired would understand that they're talking about finding a particular chemical, glycolaldehyde, which is in fact a molecule directly linked to the origin of life.

Re:Powerful telescope (4, Informative)

gwait (179005) | more than 5 years ago | (#25906279)

By the light spectrum it emits.

All molecules emit a very precise combination (or individual frequency) of light frequencies when enough energy is added to them.

Think of different pure wavelengths of light as notes on a piano. Each unique atom and molecule produces it's own unique chord when energy is added.

Re:Powerful telescope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25910073)

It could also be a linear combination of the spectra of simple molecules.

Re:Powerful telescope (1)

F'Nok (226987) | more than 5 years ago | (#25913631)

That's not how it works.

The spectrum from a molecule is not the sum of its parts, but unique to that molecule.

If you hash a phrase, you do not get the same result as if you added the hashes of each of the words that make the phrase.

You're trying to over simplify.

Re:Powerful telescope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25917503)

I didn't claim that the simple molecules would be parts of the 'detected' molecule, just that some combination of molecules known-to-exist-in-space might match the observed spectra within its observational error bars, simply due to the sheer number of possible such combinations.

Re:Powerful telescope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25906303)

Spectroscopy. Easy enough to pull off.

Re:Powerful telescope (1, Funny)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905921)

No. It's your mom [xkcd.com] eating a cotton candy.

Alien Soylent Green (0)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905835)

tastes better!

Add yeast and you can have alien brew!

Re:Alien Soylent Green (1)

aikodude (734998) | more than 5 years ago | (#25906525)

you can have alien brew!

Ah can't have alien. I may look bug, but I can't chew, brew! I only has plink-ton. Have ya got inny plink-ton?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdVHZwI8pcA [youtube.com]

What about life is alien to you? (-1, Offtopic)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905851)

Chicks are OK, really. Log out of WoW and meet some.

Re:What about life is alien to you? (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905867)

We already know where to find the chicks - easy mob on level 3, behind Castle Darkwood, just West of the barn.

Re:What about life is alien to you? (3, Funny)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905913)

I tried but they're all at home leveling up to 80.

ET want swweeeeeeetsss (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905879)

No phone home. Here I get swweeeeeeeeettts. *sticks up a bony middle finger*

Who would have guessed (5, Funny)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | more than 5 years ago | (#25906043)

That a Milky Way has sugar in it

Overlords (0, Redundant)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#25906093)

I for one welcome our sweetness based Overlords! Their Vanguard the "Hello Kitty" have already spread their tendrils throughout society and Earth is now ready for the the invasion!

Hail our new Sweetness in chief!

Re:Overlords (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907781)

Their Vanguard the "Hello Kitty" have already spread their tendrils throughout society

Whoever has a Hello Kitty + Dear Daniel matching pair, gets the babe. (The cuteness factor is indescribable.)

Let's stock up on the toys, Slashdot residents!

It seems unlikely (2, Interesting)

s4ltyd0g (452701) | more than 5 years ago | (#25906109)

A massive star forming region, hardly seems a conducive place for life to form.

Re:It seems unlikely (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907449)

Yes and no.

In that context, these simple molecules are probably created by radiation catalized reaction rather than life (it is known to be possible). However, while the place is probably still hostile to life, those organic molecules that will be still around when the place would cool down might become the initial construction set of a new life.

It's not sugar (4, Funny)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 5 years ago | (#25906161)

This just in - scientists have also discovered high fructose corn syrup, which could lead us to fat, ugly alien life.

Fat, ugly alien life (2, Funny)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907025)

It's the Vogons. Don't let them read their poems to you. Run!

But Does It Taste Like Cinnamon? (0)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 5 years ago | (#25906277)

Humanity needs to know NOW: if we develop space travel, will this substance enable enough limited prescience in human minds to get a first post on Slashdot?

52000 years after the fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25906423)

duh

Inter-Stellar Communications (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907837)

No, no, it's 52000 years and 5 seconds. You see, it takes 5 seconds to type the message (assuming the alien didn't read TFA).

Article [wikipedia.org]

Of course, if a TCP retransmission occurs, you'll need to add another 52000 years for every round trip.

o/` o/` Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life! o/` o/` (1)

alex4point0 (179152) | more than 5 years ago | (#25906515)

Mario Lanza, you were right all along.

Ah! Sweet mystery of life
At last I've found thee
Ah! I know at last the secret of it all;
All the longing, seeking, striving, waiting, yearning
The burning hopes, the joy and idle tears that fall!
For 'tis love, and love alone, the world is seeking,
And 'tis love, and love alone, that can repay!
'Tis the answer, 'tis the end and all of living
For it is love alone that rules for aye!
Love, and love alone, the world is seeking,
For 'tis love, and love alone, that can repay!
'Tis the answer, 'tis the end and all of living
For it is love alone that rules for aye...

In other news... (1)

K3ba (1012075) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907149)

In other news, the cleaning lady has now visited the site, and the mould has been cleaned of the lens.

Given it has now been a while since breakfast for the scientists, the sugar levels are now dropping.



Did the OP actually expect anything other than disbelief and notsofunnyafterall posts in reply? *sigh*

I see a giant spider... (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907869)

Tintin and the Shooting Star.

Time to invent, patent, copyright, and market the TELESCOPE WIPERS (r,c,tm).

I, for one, (1)

mvanvoorden (861050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907577)

welcome our sweet overlords. And please bring some of those Ol' Janx Spirit-filled chocolates, I ran out.

Sweet nibblets! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25907801)

(or am I admitting too much here?)

I was wondering... (1)

mvanvoorden (861050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907937)

...couldn't it be that they located some candy from the toolbag? You know those women always put everything in their bags. I'm just waiting for the next item claiming that aliens also get their period, because they found a bloody tampon.

Good!! We just discovered the first... (1)

GerardAtJob (1245980) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908167)

... evidence of a Monolith Burger "near" our galaxy! :D

Re:Good!! We just discovered the first... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25909797)

You know, I used to love that place until I got a part-time job there. That manager was such a dick and the working conditions were terrible.

ahh... thanks for the memories, makes me want to play SQ4 again.

Solved! (1)

s1lverl0rd (1382241) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908443)

Hungry astronauts/kosmonauts could simply open the window and take a bite!

Umm guys? (2, Insightful)

pugugly (152978) | more than 5 years ago | (#25912429)

"The observations confirmed the presence of three lines of glycolaldegyde towards the most central part of the core of the region"

Three lines?

Umm I hate to mention it, but that's not sugar . . .

Pug

Inside me there's a thin alien bursting to get out (1)

Attila (23211) | more than 5 years ago | (#25912441)

... but I keep it sedated with chocolate.

Not Even Correlation (2, Interesting)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 5 years ago | (#25913177)

Just because a substance is implicated in a particular phenomenon does not mean that the phenomenon is present where ever that substance is. There are compounds that are human neuromodulators that are also found in plants. Nobody would seriously take this to mean plants require neuromodulators.

TFA even states that the same compound was found in a region of space NOT likely to be conducive to the formation of life. TFA goes on blithely unaware of this statement before and after its appearance, because to be otherwise accurate TFA would have to simply state an organic compound found in some regions of space has been found in another.

Homer Simpson says (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25913975)

"Mmmmm, intergalactic doughnut"

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