Ten aldehydes, including two sugars potentially important for prebiotic chemistry, have for the first time been identified in organic residues issued from photochemistry of interstellar ice analogues, produced in the laboratory by the IAS MICMOC/SUGARS experiment.
Living organisms use amino acids exclusively in their L enantiomeric form, a fact known as homochirality. However, the abiotic synthesis of these molecules do produce racemic mixtures (L=D) and the origin of the asymmetry remains hypothetical. The “Astrochimie et Origines” team at IAS operates an experiment dedicated to the photochemistry of ices as templates of interstellar/pre-cometary ices. These ices may be irradiated by an asymmetric light, a circularly polarized, which promotes enantioselectivity in chiral molecules. New results show that enantioselectivity obtained on five different amino acids allows confirming previous results and may help to further precise the astrophysical scenario that may be responsible for the origin of the biomolecular asymmetry at the surface of the primitive Earth.