Many scientists believe that the first molecule in history was helium hydride. It was formed approximately 100,000 years after the Big Bang as a result of interaction between hydrogen and helium.
Since the beginning of the space age scientists tried until recently to find one of the historical molecules, but all their efforts were in vain. However, many years of search have finally led to success.
Helium hydride was detected in planetary nebula NGC 7027 located at the distance of 3,000 light years from our planet. SOFIA — an airborne observatory for infrared astronomy has helped to make the discovery. It is a slightly modified aircraft Boeing 747SP, fitted out with all the necessary equipment, including a terahertz radiation receiver, which detected the hydride in space.
It is a major discovery confirming the contemporary scientists’ ideas about space chemistry and the history of the early universe.
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