Spaced out sugar

A frigid reservoir of simple sugar molecules has been discovered in a cloud of gas and dust 26,000 light years from earth close to the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. The discovery suggests how the molecular building blocks necessary for the creation of life may have first formed in interstellar space. Glycolaldehyde was observed with the National Science Foundation's giant Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT) a radio telescope that can spot the chemical fingerprints of organic molecules in the interstellar medium that exist at just 8 kelvin. The study shows that pre-biotic molecules such as the 2-carbon sugar glycoaldehyde, which can be converted to the 5-carbon sugar ribose, are available to planetary systems and could have reached earth in the distant past putatively seeding life on our planet.