The interstellar space (the space between stars) is empty, right? No, in fact, it isn’t, as it is saturated with electromagnetic radiations and matter, which, combined, form the so-called interstellar medium. A part of the matter within the interstellar medium is composed of aliphatic hydrocarbons, some nonaromatic greasy compounds, recently dubbed by a study as interstellar grease.
A new study, however, carried out by the scientists from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Ege University, assessed that there are such vast amounts of these aliphatic hydrocarbons that they would even stick on every interstellar spaceship that ventures outside solar systems.
“Amongst other stuff, it’ll run into is interstellar dust, which is partly grease, partly soot and partly silicates like sand,” said Professor Tim Schmidt from the UNSW, before adding that the solar winds keep away the aliphatic hydrocarbons and soot that form the interstellar dust from our solar system.
Interstellar grease formed by aliphatic hydrocarbons contributed to building blocks of life across our galaxy
Tim Schmidt and his co-workers reproduced the processed through which the aliphatic hydrocarbons in the Universe created and exposed them to different forms of light to observe their behavior.
The data obtained permitted researchers to estimate how much of this interstellar grease have added up, over the time, within the interstellar space. Accordingly, the researchers concluded that about 25-50% of all the carbons in the Univers are those greasy carbons.
Also, according to this new study, the interstellar grease made of aliphatic hydrocarbons contributed to building blocks of life in the Milky Way, as these compounds are participating in the formation processes of stars and planets.
As Schmidt said, the interstellar grease “it’s made in stars, goes through the interstellar medium and gets incorporated into new planetary systems and has ended up incorporated into life.”