The molecules that are shaped like footballs get their names as they are formed by an arrangement of 60 carbon atoms. The ISM is the collection of gas and dust that separates our Solar System from other star systems. As CNN reports, the elements that form the ISM are crucial in the formation of stars and planetary bodies as they are pulled together to create the new celestial objects
Martin Cordiner of the Catholic University of America's Physics Department said: "The diffuse ISM can be considered as the starting point for the chemical processes that ultimately give rise to the planet and life, so fully identifying its contents provides information on the ingredients available to create stars and planets. "
The molecules form a carbon known as Buckminsterfullerene or Buckyballs
The name was chosen after the American architect Buckminster Fuller, the 60 atoms form a football shape with a carbon atom at each corner of the 20 hexagons and 1
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The molecule has been found in space before, but never before in ISM
The electric charge occurs when an electron is hit by ultraviolet light from nearby stars
Mr Cordiner said: "The diffuse ISM was historically considered too harsh and tenuous an environment for appreciable abundances of large molecules to occur. "
He also noted that" life can be thought of as the ultimate in chemical complexity. "
Indeed, life as we know with the current data and information is carbon-based and this discovery shows that carbon can be created and survive in harsh environments in space
The ISM is difficult to study as the closest example of it is far away from Earth. time and an artificial object from the Earth reached one of these regions in space was only in August 2012 by the Voyager 1 probe, which was launched in September 1977.
Voyager 2 which left Earth 16 days earlier towards the end of August that year, only entered the ISM seven months ago