Radiation can make the ice act like a liquid which favours the growth of organic molecules. The researchers from Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan found that ice in space behaves like a liquid at -2100C and -1200C temperature range. This favours the formation of the organic compounds that include prebiotic molecules along with dust for the formation of planets.
A team of researchers led by Shogo Tachibana, associate professor from Hokkaido University, found that the ultraviolet amorphous ice which is like the ice found in space shows liquid-like behaviour when subjected to extremely low temperature. The result is expected to help in discovering the processes that lead to the formation of planets and the prebiotic molecules.
The team mixed ammonia, water and methanol (all the components found in the origin place of stars in comets and the interstellar clouds). The temperature range was -2630C and -2580C. In order to create the same environment as that of space, the team exposed ultraviolet radiation to new ice. At -2130C, the ice cracked up due to heat.
After warming it for another five degrees, the ice started bubbling up and continued to do so until -1230C. At this temperature, the ice regained its solid state to form crystals. Ice didn’t show any hints of bubbles without the exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
On analysing, it was found that the ultraviolet radiation was responsible for breaking the molecular bonds between ammonia and methane molecules, giving out hydrogen bubbles. The ice (after being exposed to ultraviolet radiation) also showed symptoms of flowing like honey at temperatures -1850C and -1610C.
The experiment gives a clear indication that the interstellar ice might show behaviour like a liquid which gives rise to the conditions for the birth of organic compounds. This also proves the fact that only in an extremely cold environment, the organic molecules and the prebiotic molecules can be formed. More experiments are being planned for understanding the properties of ice that show bubbling and liquid state.
THE END STORY
When ultraviolet radiation is passed through the interstellar molecular clouds, the molecular bonds present in the ice breaks. This helps in forming prebiotic molecules. Scientists believe that the organic compounds are found more evidently in the ice found in space. The experiment performed gives an indication about the origin of life.