The idea of life in space is quite intriguing and a breakthrough has been made. It was revealed that a major discovery was made on a comet in space.
The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta space probe reached Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (Comet C-G) in 2014 and the craft – known as ROSINA – has now confirmed that the icy space rock has the basic building blocks of life.
This includes the amino acid glycine and phosphorus.
While some 140 molecules have been detected on the comet, glycine and phosphorus are a major discovery as they are key components of DNA and cell membranes which are crucial to the origin of life.
Kathrin Altwegg, principal investigator of the ROSINA instrument at the Center of Space and Habitability of the University of Bern and lead author of the study, heralded the startling discovery.
She said: “This is the first unambiguous detection of glycine in the thin atmosphere of a comet.”
Matt Taylor, Rosetta project scientist of the ESA, added that this could confirm that comets such as this delivered life to Earth and potentially elsewhere in the universe.
He said: “The multitude of organic molecules already identified by ROSINA, now joined by the exciting confirmation of fundamental ingredients like glycine and phosphorus, confirms our idea that comets have the potential to deliver key molecules for prebiotic chemistry.
“Demonstrating that comets are reservoirs of primitive material in the Solar System, and vessels that could have transported these vital ingredients to Earth, is one of the key goals of the Rosetta mission, and we are delighted with this result.”
However, information from the comet also shows that comets are probably not responsible for delivering water to planets, as has been the debate surrounding water on Earth.
The results published in the journal Science shows that there was a significant difference in composition between Comet 67P/C-G’s water and Earth’s.