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The James Webb Telescope detected the coldest ice in the known universe – and it contains the building blocks of life - Livescience.com

The James Webb Telescope detected the coldest ice in the known universe – and it contains the building blocks of life - Livescience.com

The James Webb Telescope detected the coldest ice in the known universe – and it contains the building blocks of life - Livescience.com
Jan 24, 2023 1 min, 4 secs

Scientists using the James Webb Space Telescope(JWST) have observed and measured the coldest ice in the deepest reaches of an interstellar molecular cloud to date.

In this latest research, a team of scientists used the JWST’s infrared camera to investigate a molecular cloud called Chameleon I, about 500 light-years from Earth.

"These observations open a new window on the formation pathways for the simple and complex molecules that are needed to make the building blocks of life," McClure said in the statement.

An inventory of the icy molecules discovered deep within the molecular cloud Chameleon I (Image credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, and J. Olmsted (STScI), K. Pontoppidan (STScI), N. Crouzet (Leiden University), and Z. Smith (Open University))The JWST sent back its first images in July 2022, and scientists are currently using the $10 billion telescope's instruments to demonstrate what kinds of measurements are possible.

Although the team was thrilled to observe COHNS within the cold, molecular soup, they didn't find as high a concentration of the molecules as they were expecting in a dense cloud like Chameleon I.

"This is just the first in a series of spectral snapshots that we will obtain to see how the ices evolve from their initial synthesis to the comet-forming regions of protoplanetary disks," McClure said in the statement.

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