Buckyballs and Fulgarite

23 February 2012

At www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-047&cid=release_2012-047 … news that NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope has discovered solid buckyballs in space. The real name, as mentioned in a post last year, is buckminster fullerenes as they resemble the geodesic dome of an American architect, Buckminster Fuller. In this instance, the lead author of a paper in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, is one Nye Evans of Keele University. It now seems likely that buckyballs, microscopic carbon spheres, are common in space, providing an important form of carbon, an essential building block of life. Interestingly, buckyballs on earth are found in the form of a goo from burning candles and exist in fulgarites, a glassy rock that forms when lightning strikes the ground. A NASA scientist is quoted as saying, 'the window Spitzer provides into the infra-red universe has revealed a beautiful structure on a cosmc scale …' and what a beautiful way of describing it.

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