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The final chemistry frontier

Molecules of the interstellar medium must break the rules to make the stuff of space

By
3:04pm, January 15, 2010

The landscape could be the backdrop of a post­apocalyptic film. It’s an environment of extremes, blasted by intense radiation, fierce winds and shock waves from violent explosions. Yet within this desolation, species persist. Not only are there ordinary, familiar faces, there is also, evidence suggests, a motley crew: galactic gangs that would make Mad Max cringe. Some are decked out in metal; others are radicals itching to react, amped up with positive and, new research shows, even negative charge.

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