Space is, on average, a very cold and very weird place, and one of its coldest substances can also be one of its weirdest: In a new study published in Science Advances, researchers combined water with methanol and ammonia at –263°C to simulate the ice around comets and interstellar clouds where stars often form. When the team applied ultraviolet radiation—a sort of simulated starlight—the ice began to warm. From –208°C up to –123°C, the researchers observed the bubbles seen in the video above and from –185°C to –161°C the ice flowed like molasses, Science News reports. The dynamic environment could facilitate the interaction of organic molecules, possibly paving the way for the start of simple lifeforms.
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