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Scientists claim to have discovered the oxygen molecule for the first time ever in deep space.

Breathable oxygen found in space

Oxygen molecules in space (credit: ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Oxygen molecules in space (credit: ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Scientists claim to have discovered the oxygen molecule for the first time ever in deep space.

Small signatures of molecular oxygen were detected in the star-forming complex of the constellation Orion by the Herschel Telescope. The Huffington Post points out that oxygen is the third most abundant element in the universe (following hydrogen and helium), but until now, the molecular form of oxygen has never been found outside of Earth. Similarly, in their recent press release, NASA stated, “Individual atoms of oxygen are common in space, particularly around massive stars. But molecular oxygen, which makes up about 20 percent of the air we breathe, has eluded astronomers until now.”

The detection of molecular oxygen in space lends support to the notion that life as we know it could exist elsewhere in the universe.

The details of the Herschel Telescope find will be published in the Astrophysical Journal.

About Jason McClellan

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Jason McClellan is a UFO journalist and the producer/co-host of the web series Spacing Out! He is also the web content manager and staff writer for OpenMinds.tv, and a co-organizer and technical producer of the International UFO Congress. As a founding member of Open Minds, Jason served as a writer and editor for the now defunct Open Minds magazine. He has appeared on Syfy, NatGeo, and, most recently, he co-starred on H2's Hangar 1: The UFO Files. ------ Follow Jason on Twitter @acecentric and subscribe to Jason's updates on Facebook.