TECH

Philae Comet Landing Probe Discovers Building Blocks Of Life, Scientists Say

31/07/2015 08:33 BST | Updated 31/07/2015 08:59 BST

When Philae successfully landed on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P) in November, scientists were not quite sure what its treasure trove of data would tell us.

In a series of nine papers published in the latest issue of Science, researchers say they have found ingredients on the rocky surface that could be crucial to life.

They have found a host of organic compounds, including water (in the form of ice), carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.

Interestingly, they also discovered more complex carbon and nitrogen-rich compounds such as methyl isocyanate, acetone, propionaldehyde and acetamide.

"Taken together, these first pioneering measurements performed on the surface of a comet are profoundly changing our view of these worlds and continuing to shape our impression of the history of the Solar System," says Jean-Pierre Bibring, a lead lander scientist in Orsay, France

Researchers believe the chemical composition of the comet may mimic the early Solar System and therefore, allow us to understand what kind of role comets may have played in contributing to life on earth.

In order to reach these conclusions, the Rosetta mission's team analysed samples of dust and gas collected during Philae's descent to its landing sites.

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