Today we’ll take a quick look at some related compounds, all derivatives of butyric acid.
Butyric acid is a short-chain fatty acid, and gets its name from the Greek for “butter” – and is, appropriately, responsible for the distinctive smells of rancid butter and vomit. Esters of butyric acid (e.g. methyl/ethyl butyrate) are often used as artificial flavourings and in perfumes, typically having fruity odours. Continue reading →
Space: the final frontier
Last week, the Philae probe successfully landed on comet 67P, an icy lump of rock which is over 3 miles long and nearly 2 miles wide – and over 300 million miles away.
Comet 67P, or Churyumov–Gerasimenko. ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM
One of the reasons that comets are of such interest to scientists that the European Space Agency would spend 1.4 billion euros sending the Rosetta spacecraft 4 billion miles on a mission that would take ten years to come to fruition, is that comets could hold clues to the origin of life on Earth. Continue reading →