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Does organic material in comets predate our solar system?

13 Sep 2017, 10:00 UTC
Does organic material in comets predate our solar system?
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Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as seen by ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft.
On September 4, 2017, researchers in Paris announced the results of their study of the organic compounds – combinations of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen – in comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This is the comet studied up-close and in detail by ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft for two years, beginning in August 2014. The sorts of organic molecules found in this comet and others have long been proposed by scientists as possible building blocks for life on Earth. Published in late August in the peer-reviewed journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the French researchers advance the theory that this organic matter has its origin in interstellar space and predates the birth of our solar system.
The Rosetta mission found a large amount of organic material in the nucleus of the comet, which some people simply 67P and others call Chury for Klim Ivanovich Churyumov, one of its discovers. The Rosetta mission found that organic matter made up 40% (by mass) of the nucleus of the comet. According to researchers Jean-Loup Bertaux and Rosine Lallement, not only were the organic molecules were produced in interstellar space, well before the formation of the solar system, ...

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