Astronomers have just moved closer to understanding how the raw ingredients for life may have arisen on Earth as well as on planets light-years beyond the solar system.
One team, using the Hubble Space Telescope, has for the first time detected an organic molecule in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting another star. Although the orb can't support life, the discovery bodes well for finding organic material on more habitable exoplanets. Another team found that space rocks delivered a bigger helping of amino acids—the building blocks of proteins—to the early Earth than previously suspected.
To learn more about the composition of an alien planet, Mark Swain of NASA's Jet P