Prelims level : First Molecule of Universe Mains level : Science & Technology - Awareness in The Fields Of It, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-Technology, Bio-Technology
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Why in News?

  • The scientists of NASA have detected the first molecule which is Helium Hydride that was formed from stray atoms in the Universe


  • NASA Scientists Detect First Molecule of Universe – Helium Hydride is a combination of helium and Hydrogen
  • The research was published in the journal ‘Nature’.
  • The researchers used the National Aeronautics and Space Administrations SOFIA, the world’s largest airborne observatory, to detect helium hydride in NGC 7027, a planetary Nebula about 3,000 light-years away from Earth.

What is SOFIA?

  • Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is a Boeing 747SP jetliner modified to carry a 106-inch diameter telescope

Significance of this discovery:

  • Scientists for long had held that around 100,000 years after the big bang, helium and hydrogen combined to make a molecule called helium hydride for the first time
  • But scientists could not find HeH+ in space and it was unproven
  • The discovery brought a long search to a happy ending and eliminates doubts about our understanding of the underlying chemistry of the early universe
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