Space Buckyballs

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has at last found buckyballs in space, as illustrated by this artist's conception showing the carbon balls coming out from the type of object where they were discovered -- a dying star and the material it sheds, known as a planetary nebula.
Collected from: NASA - Space Balls

Discovery News

Bushels of Buckyballs Found in Space

Strong cages of carbon, known as buckyballs, have been found not only in the exploded remains of stars, but also in interstellar space, raising the prospect that they may be the packaging to transport other molecules and atoms through the galaxy.

  • Astronomers find buckyballs, hollow spheres of carbon, in four planetary nebulae and in interstellar space.
  • Buckyballs can travel between the stars, possibly transporting atoms and small molecules.
  • Meteorites that crashed into Earth have been found with buckyballs holding gases from beyond the solar system.

NASA - Space Buckyballs Thrive, Finds NASA Spitzer Telescope

"It turns out that buckyballs are much more common and abundant in the universe than initially thought," said astronomer Letizia Stanghellini of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, Ariz. "Spitzer had recently found them in one specific location, but now we see them in other environments. This has implications for the chemistry of life. It's possible that buckyballs from outer space provided seeds for life on Earth."