A sugar molecule, called glycolaldehyde, was spotted in a large star-forming area of space around 26,000 light-years from Earth in the outer regions of the Milky Way. Since the sugar had already been seen nearer the center of the galaxy, this suggests the sugar could be common across the universe, which is good news for extraterrestrial-life seekers.
Glycolaldehyde is a key ingredient for life. It helps to build Ribonucleic acid (RNA), which is thought to be the central molecule involved in the origin of life on Earth. Glycolaldehyde is a monosaccharide sugar, the basic unit of carbohydrates. It can react with the chemical propenal to form ribose, the building block of RNA.