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HubbleSite Hubble Finds First Organic Molecule on an Exoplanet

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Space Telescope Science

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has made the first detection ever of an organic molecule in the atmosphere of a Jupiter-sized planet orbiting another star. This breakthrough is an important step in eventually identifying signs of life on a planet outside our solar system. The molecule found by Hubble is methane, which under the right circumstances can play a key role in prebiotic chemistry - the chemical reactions considered necessary to form life as we know it. This illustration depicts the extrasolar planet HD 189733b with its parent star peeking above its top edge.

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