The Lovejoy Comet Is Leaking Sugar and Alcohol into Space

Some scientists think that comets such as this one provided essential ingredients for the origin of life on Earth
The Lovejoy Comet Is Leaking Sugar and Alcohol into Space

Fabrice Noel/NASA

Comet Lovejoy is releasing copious amounts of alcohol into the universe.

A generous comet making its way through space is releasing large amounts of alcohol and sugar into space, according to observations made by an international team of researchers.

According to NASA, the Lovejoy Comet, as it’s known, not only marks the first time ethyl alcohol — the kind we drink — has been found in a comet, but also “adds to the evidence that comets could have been a source of the complex organic molecules necessary for the emergence of life.”

In a paper published in the Science Advances journal, the paper’s lead researcher, Nicolas Biver, described Lovejoy “as releasing as much alcohol as in at least 500 bottles of wine every second during its peak activity,” as well as molecules of glycolaldehyde, a simple sugar.

Although researchers will continue to observe the comet’s intricate makeup, some scientists have posited that the organic molecules brought to earth from comets “delivered a supply of organic molecules that could have assisted the origin of life,” according to NASA’s Bill Steigerwald.

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