From astrobites: “Antineutrinos, Left-Handed Molecules, and You”

Astrobites bloc

From astrobites

May 10, 2018
Kerrin Hensley

Title: Sites That Can Produce Left-Handed Amino Acids in the Supernova Neutrino Amino Acid Processing Model
Authors: Richard N. Boyd, Michael A. Famiano, Takashi Onaka, and Toshitaka Kajino
First Author’s Institution: The Ohio State University

Status: Published in The Astrophysical Journal, open access on arXiv

Scientists are enamored with the search for life. They’ve scoured spectra for hints of life-supporting gases in the atmospheres of exoplanets. They’ve assessed the friendliness of galaxies near and far, and found the universe to be an unforgiving place. They’ve plumbed the depths of the oceans and studied pristine Antarctic lakes to understand the harsh conditions life might be able to withstand elsewhere in the cosmos.

The search for life on other worlds has been guided by what we know about life on Earth. Life as we know it depends on amino acids to survive. Today’s paper explores the effects of exotic astrophysical settings on amino acids, which could tell us something about how life came to be on Earth — and where else in the universe life like Earth’s might be found.

Figure 1. A simple amino acid, alanine. The two forms of alanine, shown on the left, are a chiral pair. The rightmost drawing shows that right-handed alanine (center, right) can’t be converted to left-handed alanine (left) just by turning the molecule over. The solid triangle indicates that that part of the molecule sticks out of the plane of the page, while the dashed triangle indicates that that part of the molecule is directed backward, into the page.

See the full article here .

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