Philae Lander On Comet Discovers Organic Molecules

Last week NASA announced that it has discovered Earth’s twin and this week the European Space Agency announced that its Rosetta’s Philae Lander which landed on comet 67P last November has found organic molecules. Yay! So Aliens?

Not quite, more like alien adjacent; after a rough landing in which the Philae bounced a few times before settling down, instruments were able to determine the composition of the comet. Jean-Pierre Bibring, the lead scientist for the Philae lander, explained that from the data collected scientists were able to distinguish complex light-absorbing organic molecules. “This is fundamental,” Dr. Bibring said. “We didn’t know that.”

Don’t squash anything.

While the lander was functional for 60 hours after it landed on the comet, it has only been able to contact Earth on and off. However with the initial data it was able to collect scientists made the surprising discovery that it contained organic, carbon based molecules – which are the building blocks for life.

These organic molecules formed in the cold of space, possibly even before they all came together to form the comet. While these types of organic molecules can be created through non-biological chemical processes, this is still exciting as it shows that the building blocks for life could be present throughout the galaxy.

Imagine awe inspiring music over this.

Hopefully the lander wakes up soon and is able to sniff around for more organic stuff.

Follow Phil Haney on Twitter @PhilHaney

Source:  NY Times