Rosetta Probe Directly Discovers Organic Molecules on CometPosted: November 17, 2014
“A study of the comet’s organic materials ‘will help us to understand whether organic molecules were brought by comets to the early earth,’ which could have kick-started life here.”
“We are very confident that in coming months we’ll get more sun and power and Philae can be reactivated.”
— Stephan Ulamec, Philae lander manager and scientist at the German Aerospace Center
Scientists are analyzing the data to see whether the organic compounds detected by Philae are simple ones—such as methane and methanol—or a more complex species such as amino acids, the building blocks for proteins. A drill on Philae also obtained some material from the comet’s hard surface, but data about organic molecules from that experiment have yet to be fully analyzed.
Comets contain some of the most pristine materials in the solar system, dating to about 4.5 billion years ago. Previous studies have suggested that comets forge organic material in their dusty atmospheres.
A study of the comet’s organic materials…(read more)
Write to Gautam Naik at firstname.lastname@example.org
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