TNRTB Archive – Retained for reference information
An astrophysically necessary but chemically odd molecule (H3+) reveals fine-tuning. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, with H2 being the most abundant form of hydrogen. The second most abundantly produced form of hydrogen, H3+, readily reacts to form other molecules despite its unusual chemical configuration (its three protons are orbited by two electrons, rather than three). Researchers have learned that H3+ facilitates the formation of molecules vital for star formation to proceed—without these molecules, gravitationally collapsing gas clouds would not cool sufficiently to actually produce stars. Additionally, scientists found that the simple geometry of the H3+ molecule provides a unique and efficient probe to study both hot and cold gas clouds in the universe. A chemically odd molecule that serves such critical roles in astrophysical settings comports with the idea of a supernatural Designer creating this universe to support life.
- Takeshi Oka, “Interstellar H3+,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 103 (2006): 12235-42.
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