Rosetta’s comet contains ingredients for life

Rosetta’s comet contains ingredients for life

Released

27/05/2016 8:00 pm

Copyright

Spacecraft: ESA/ATG medialab; Comet: ESA/Rosetta/NavCam – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0; data: Altwegg et al. (2016)

Description

The Rosina-DFMS instrument on Rosetta has detected ingredients considered important for life as we know it on Earth, in the coma of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

One important detection was that of the simple amino acid glycine (top, C2H5NO2), a biologically important organic compound commonly found in proteins. Phosphorus was also detected (bottom, P), a key element in all living organisms. It is found in the backbone of DNA and RNA, in cell membranes, and in adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism.

The multitude of organic molecules identified by Rosetta confirms our idea that comets have the potential to deliver key molecules for prebiotic chemistry on Earth.

Full story: Rosetta’s comet contains ingredients for life

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