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Sugarcoated news arrives from space

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1:21pm, January 8, 2003

The stuff of the cosmos just got sweeter. Researchers announced last week the first discovery of a sugar in space.

They found it in a massive cloud of gas and dust 26,000 light-years from Earth.

Last month, the scientists searched for the simple sugar called glycolaldehyde with the 12 Meter Telescope on Kitt Peak near Tucson, Ariz. They detected the sugar's signature radio emissions in the star-forming region Sagittarius B2 (North), near the center of the Milky Way. The eight-atom molecule contains hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. It can combine with other molecules to form more-complex sugars, such as ribose, that serve as biological building blocks.

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