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Building Blocks of Life's Building Blocks Come From Starlight

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Sword of Orion in infrared

The dusty side of the Sword of Orion is illuminated in this striking infrared image from ESA's Hershel Space Observatory. Within the inset image, the emission from ionized carbon atoms (C+) is overlaid in yellow.

Credit: ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech

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.

From Jet Propulsion Laboratory/NASA
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