As it turns out, Comet Lovejoy is appropriately named.
Scientists have determined that as the comet hurls through space it is also releasing high volumes of alcohol, maybe as much as 500 bottles of wine per second. The comet is also releasing high volumes of sugar, pretty much bringing all the needed elements for a bossome intergalactic party.
The team that made this discovery is based out of France and led by Nicolas Biver at the Paris Observatory. What they are interested in, beyond collecting the alcohol in an black hole sized keg, is whether the comet’s production of sugar and alcohol might point to a propensity to produce life ushering chemicals.
“The result definitely promotes the idea the comets carry very complex chemistry,” said Stefanie Milam of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “During the Late Heavy Bombardment about 3.8 billion years ago, when many comets and asteroids were blasting into Earth and we were getting our first oceans, life didn’t have to start with just simple molecules like water, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen. Instead, life had something that was much more sophisticated on a molecular level. We’re finding molecules with multiple carbon atoms. So now you can see where sugars start forming, as well as more complex organics such as amino acids—the building blocks of proteins—or nucleobases, the building blocks of DNA. These can start forming much easier than beginning with molecules with only two or three atoms.”
Scientists now wonder whether a comet strike on Earth delivered the critical chemicals that were essential for the origination of life.
All this from a boozed-up comet. Who woulda guessed it??