A fundamental component of life has been discovered on the surface of comet 67P (movie)

Comets have always fascinated people. Now that we have the opportunity to study them better, thanks to the latest technological advances and space missions, the secrets they hide surprise us even more.

We recently learned that comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy contains large deposits of organic compounds, and thanks to the Rosetta mission, we discovered life-giving oxygen on comet 67P/Churiumov-Gerasimenko, which has been there for 4.6 billion years.

However, the most interesting information was only released by the European Space Agency (ESA). Well, in the pigtail (coma) of comet 67P were detected substances associated with the origin of life, namely phosphorus and amino acid (glycine), as well as hydrogen sulfide and hydrogen cyanide, among others.

This is an extremely valuable and fascinating discovery, as phosphorus is a key component of DNA and glycine is commonly found in proteins of living organisms. ESA scientists highlight the first time in the history of space exploration that glycine has been discovered “on” a comet.

But that’s not all. Scientists from the University of Bern once again carefully analyzed all the acquired data from the Rosetta probe, and then conducted an analysis of the ammonium salts found on the surface. Since the materials absorb sunlight differently at different wavelengths, the researchers were able to detect nitrogen gas.

This gas is essential for the origin of life. Detecting it on a comet means that such objects may be cosmic incubators that can house the bricks of life and carry them across the abyss of the Universe. Astrobiologists believe that this is further evidence in support of the panspermia hypothesis, which posits that the elements necessary for the origin of life on Earth were brought (e.g. on comets) from deep space.

The structure and shape of comet 67P Churyumov-Gersimenko indicate that it may have been formed by the collision of two objects billions of years ago. Astronomers have shown these events in a special animation based on data collected during the research. Before Comet 67P formed, the two objects collided at a speed of about 3,600 kilometres per hour. 3600 km/h.

As a result of the collision, loosely bound volatile materials were scattered through space, but slowly enough that even after a few days or even hours, they could begin to re-bond together to form a new, larger object. In this particular case, the comet 67P, which we know well, is why it has such a distinctive shape, because it looks like a duck.

The most interesting conclusion drawn from the team’s research is that objects can collide with each other very frequently in the unknown Kuiper Belt and create new, larger ones in a very short time. This is a big problem because the situation at the edge of the Solar System can change extremely dynamically, making it difficult for us to detect and observe potentially dangerous objects for Earth.

Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Mobile Pedia