With Webb, scientists make first detection of carbon molecule in protoplanetary disk

Published by NASASpaceflight on 06/28/2023 UTC

With new data collected by the joint NASA/European Space Agency/Canadian Space Agency James Webb Space Telescope, an international team of scientists has — for the first time ever — detected a carbon molecule within the protoplanetary disk of a star located in the Orion Nebula. The molecule, called methyl cation (CH3+), is quite unique. The molecule doesn’t react to hydrogen all that efficiently but can react with other common molecules. This reaction allows for the creation and growth of more complex carbon-based molecules  — like life.

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