ALMA and Rosetta Detect Freon-40 in Space

“Observations made with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and ESA’s Rosetta mission, have detected the faint molecular fingerprint of methyl chloride in gas, a chemical commonly produced by industrial biological processes on Earth, around both an infant star and a comet. Methyl chloride (CH3Cl), also known as Freon-40, is one of a class of molecules known as organohalogens, which are formed by organic processes on Earth. But, this is the first ever detection of them in interstellar space, dashing hopes molecule could point to life on other planets. …”

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Image : Credit: B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF); NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA
Contact :
Audrey Coutens, Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Bordeaux (previously at University College London)