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Life exists in a myriad of wondrous forms, but if you break any organism down to its most basic parts, it’s all the same stuff: carbon atoms connected to hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and other elements. But how these fundamental substances are created in space has been a longstanding mystery. Now, astronomers using the Herschel Space Observatory have discovered that starlight plays a key role in creating the molecules that become the building blocks of life. Learn how:

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