Keys to "ingredients for life" found on Rosetta's comet

The comet followed by the ESA's Rosetta mission and landed upon by Philae has turned up "the ingredients for life" in its most recent data package. This data may well also be the last that Philae sends via Rosetta, as the craft have just one more chance to be in alignment before they're cut off from Earth contact forever. To detect the data we're exploring today, Philae employed its Ptolemy and COSAC tools, turning up water vapor, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.

It's not as if the ESA found Little Green Men walking around the surface of the comet. It's not even that they found anything living. Instead, it's that they found those three main components of coma gasses – water vapor, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, as well as tiny amounts of carbon-bearing organic compounds, one of which was formaldehyde.

The COSAC tool's role in this adventure turned up a "suite" of 16 organic compounds. These include, but are not limited to, methyl isocyanate, acetone, propionaldehyde, and acetamide.

These four compounds are extra exciting because they've never before been detected on any comet – ever.

Some compounds detected on the surface of this comet by Philae's tools "play a key role in the prebiotic synthesis of amino acids, sugars and nucleobases: the ingredients for life," said the ESA. "For example, formaldehyde is implicated in the formation of ribose, which ultimately features in molecules like DNA."

The ESA suggested that because they've detected these complex molecules in a comet, it's implied that "chemical processes at work during that time could have played a key role in fostering the formation of prebiotic material."

In other words, the idea that life on Earth could have come from primordial soup brought to the planet on a comet is entirely real.

We're not the first person to ask it, and we won't be the last: Could we all be aliens to this planet? Maybe so!

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