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Space & Astronomy

Building blocks of life found on comet 67P

By T.K. Randall
May 29, 2016 · Comment icon 10 comments

The Rosetta mission has been an unmitigated success. Image Credit: CC BY-3.0 DLR
ESA's Rosetta spacecraft has made a significant new discovery within the atmosphere of its new home.
The probe, which became the first spacecraft in history to go in to orbit around a comet when it arrived back in August 2014, has already returned a wealth of information as part of its ongoing efforts to conduct the most detailed study of a comet ever undertaken.

Its most recent findings, which were announced by scientists on Friday, include the discovery of the amino acid glycine as well as a range of organic molecules within the comet's dusty atmosphere.
The presence of these crucial molecules suggests quite strongly that comets like this one could have helped to seed planets like the Earth with the building blocks of life in their early history.

"With all the organics, amino acid and phosphorus, we can say that the comet really contains everything to produce life - except energy," said Rosetta's Kathrin Altwegg.

"Energy is completely missing on the comet, so on the comet you cannot form life. But once you have the comet in a warm place - let's say it drops into the ocean - then these molecules get free, they get mobile, they can react, and maybe that's how life starts."

Source: | Comments (10)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Echosignal 8 years ago
Comet = Sperm Planet = Egg cell
Comment icon #2 Posted by seeder 8 years ago
Oh Boy, I thought a post like this would send people into a frenzy...I mean, its NOT just Earth that gets hits by comets is it?
Comment icon #3 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 8 years ago
Why would it send people into a frenzy? It is simply more confirmation of what has been known for a long time, that the many of the building blocks of life are found on comets. This discovery adds one new amino acid and phosphorous to that list of life's building blocks, an important and interesting discovery to be sure but not Earth shattering in itself.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Skulduggery 8 years ago
Comment icon #5 Posted by Poppi 8 years ago
The red rain in India. ..Fish falls are weird too.
Comment icon #6 Posted by seeder 8 years ago
Oh I agree to a point, I was more meaning the UFO/ET crowd,.... I mean THEY all want proof of the possibility of ET those on certain religious threads....who accept point blank the word of God minus evolution
Comment icon #7 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 8 years ago
The UFO/ET crowd, as you call them, already believe that NASA is holding back proof of ADVANCED extraterrestrial life.  Those that reject evolution reject the evidence which does not fit with their beliefs  (besides the argument for the origin of life is not the same as that for evolution anyway). Given these points why would you possibly think that these two groups would be in a frenzy.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Ozfactor 8 years ago
I think about all these new discoveries and all the firsts . this new discovery was sent to us by a satellite, the first to orbit a comet . I can't wait for the day the new discovery will be the first public public announcement of life in the universe other then on earth , what ever they may be. Also about this new discovery on this comet , if they found organic compounds within the comets atmosphere and all that is needed is energy to create life,possibly,  isn't that itself proof of life out side of earth because our skies are sprinkled with energy giving stars that go on for infinity , i... [More]
Comment icon #9 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 8 years ago
No, it's not proof of life. The building blocks of a stone wall are stones. Discovering stones is NOT proof of stone walls. If the process was as simple as you claim then in labs all over the world people would be mixing the right organic chemicals, adding energy and creating life. Many have tried that, none have succeeded. The only proof of life off the Earth is actually discovering life off the Earth. This constitutes no such proof, although it is more evidence that life of the Earth is likely, but that is a long way short of proof.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Codenwarra 8 years ago
Take it from a chemist with a minor interest in astronomy. This is utterly unsurprising.

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