Strange Science: Ice in Space?

Bubbles trapped in iceCould ice in space be the key to life (itself)? Scientists in Japan think so!

A team of scientists recently simulated ice that could exist in space, and then exposed it to simulated starlight. At first, the increased temperature made it crack, but then bubbles formed and popped until the ice reached a warmer temperature. And at an even warmer temperature than that, it began to flow like honey.

What this has to do with life is that earlier studies found molecules essential to life in irradiated ice. At the time, they did not know how those molecules got there, suspecting potential contamination. This new study of how ice in space reacts to starlight offers a new possibility of the source of those molecules, as the ice itself shifts states depending on its temperature, allowing for reactions between precursor molecules.

If you’d like to read more about it, this article includes some links to the scientific papers involved!

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