Science

Comet 67P: A Streaking Space Space “Lab” Travelling at the Speed of 84,000 mph

According to new research published by ESA scientists, complex molecules have been discovered on the surface of Comet 67P.  The Rosetta probe has found frozen compounds that could be the key building blocks of life.  This may not be significant evidence, but this find helps support the theory that life on Earth may have been brought here by a comet.

The Philae lander, the lander that accompanies the Rosetta Probe, collected data when it made its landing on Comet 67P.  The footage and measurements it took proved that the comet is covered with coarse materials and is more durable than anticipated.  The lander also collected data on the daily fluctuations of the comet’s temperature, and an assessment of the comet’s structure and surface properties.  Scientists have previously thought that comet surfaces may be soft because of the belief that surfaces are mostly loose regolith under low gravity.

It is currently unknown how the complex molecules found on the comet came about, but the discovery is nevertheless an important stepping stone in understanding how life began on Earth.  Applying energy to organic compounds such as those found on the comet can lead to the creation of amino acids, which makes up proteins, which are the basis of life itself.  It could be that life began when the comet struck Earth, as the event could produce enough energy to help start life.

Image: http://blogs.esa.int/