Astrobiologists looking for the building blocks of life in the centre of our galaxy have instead found the faint aroma of rum and a slight taste of raspberries.
The team from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Germany used a 30m telescope based in Spain to probe deep into the heart of our home galaxy, The Milky Way. They were looking for amino acids, thought to be a crucial factor in the development of life. Radio telescopes are perfect for this kind of astronomy as it allows you to peer through layers of cosmic dust right to the heart of the galaxy.
However, they failed to find what they were looking for. Instead their investigations yielded traces of ethyl formate, the chemical that apparently puts the taste in raspberries and the smell in rum. Whilst this isn’t as exciting as actually finding the ingredients for life, you could always make yourself a nice pavlova. And the novelty factor of this story hasn’t been lost on the national media, with the story reported in The Guardian.
So it seems astronomers are discovering quite a kitchen store cupboard in space. Now we have raspberries and rum to go with steak and beer. Sounds like we have the possibility of a three-course meal on the cards. Steak and beer for main, and pavlova for pudding. Deep fried Mars bars to start?