It took decades to investigate astronomers to locate the first molecule that was synthesized in the Universe. Helium hydride (HeH +) formed the foundation for how the Universe Chemistry began, but the inability to locate it had questioned this particular theory. Now, however, we have the first undisputable proof of the existence of the molecule in a planetary nebula.
The basic theory of Big Bang wants the young universe to dominate hydrogen and the sun. Inevitably, the inert helium atoms created compounds with the hydrogen ions to form the helium hydride (HeH +), the first type of molecule that could be created with these elements. From there on, these hydrides joined and formed different combinations that exponentially led to the extensive range of chemical elements we know today.
In theory, everything was good and in practice the scientists had been able to produce the helium for the first time in the laboratory since 1925. But it took nearly 100 years to locate it in the Universe, thanks to NASA's new technologies.
The problem with the helium hydride is that its spectral emission occurs at a frequency of 2.01 THz blocked by the Earth's atmosphere. That's why the researchers used the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) that scans the Universe from the stratosphere (13,700 meters) onto a Boeing 747SP and receives "clear" wavelengths in the infrared spectrum.
SOFIA has detected the HeH + footprint in the NGC 7027 nebula and will need to locate it in yet another part of the Universe to permanently "lock" the existence of that molecule.