Reprint from 2012 Forbes article by Alex Knapp
NASA Detects Solid Buckyballs In Space
Astronomers using the Spitzer Space Telescope have detected solid buckyballs about 6,500 light years from Earth.
NASA has announced that astronomers using the Spitzer Space Telescope have found solid materials made out of Buckyballs in the star system XX Ophiuchi, which is 6,500 light years from Earth. This builds on some earlier findings, which detected Buckyballs in gaseous form in outer space.
“These buckyballs are stacked together to form a solid, like oranges in a crate,” said Nye Evans, lead author of the paper summarizing the results in the NASA press release. “The particles we detected are minuscule, far smaller than the width of a hair, but each one would contain stacks of millions of buckyballs.”
Buckyballs are probably one of the funnest molecules in nature. They’re comprised of 60 carbons in the shape of a geodesic dome. The name ‘Buckyball’ is derived from their official name, buckminsterfullerene, which is an homage to architect Buckminster Fuller, who used geodesic domes in his building designs. Buckyballs themselves have some interesting chemical and electrical properties that are being explored for a multitude of different applications.
“This exciting result suggests that buckyballs are even more widespread in space than the earlier Spitzer results showed,” said Mike Werner, one of Spitzer’s project scientists, in the press release. “They may be an important form of carbon, an essential building block for life, throughout the cosmos.”
It’s fascinating the buckyballs have turned out to be such an abundant carbon compound out in space. I’m curious as to the actual process through which the buckyballs are created in such vastly different stellar environments, and how they impact those environments. I’ve no doubt that a lot of the physics and chemistry we learn from buckyballs in space could pave the way for new technologies here on Earth.
Discussion - What Does this Mean?
Conclusion? Shungite is all we think it is and more.