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Organic molecules, not previously observed, found in comets?

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nucleus of comet Churi/ESA By Rosetta’s Philae:

From ScienceDaily:

Organic molecules never previously observed in comets, a relatively varied structure on the surface but a fairly homogeneous interior, organic compounds forming agglomerates rather than being dispersed in the ice: these are just some of first results provided by Philae on the surface of comet Churi. These in situ findings, which contain a wealth of completely new information, reveal several differences in comparison with previous observations of comets and current models.

Twenty-five minutes after Philae’s initial contact with the cometary nucleus, COSAC (Cometary Sampling and Composition experiment) carried out a first chemical analysis in sniffing mode, that is, by examining particles that passively enter the instrument. These particles probably came from the cloud of dust raised by Philae’s first contact with the ground. Sixteen compounds were identified, divided into six classes of organic molecules (alcohols, carbonyls, amines, nitriles, amides and isocyanates). Of these, four were detected for the first time on a comet (methyl isocyanate, acetone, propionaldehyde and acetamide).

These particles are precursors of molecules important for life (sugars, amino acids, DNA bases, etc). However, the possible presence of these more complex compounds was not unambiguously confirmed in this first analysis. In addition, almost all the compounds detected are potential precursors, products, combinations or by-products of each other, which provides a glimpse of the chemical processes at work in a cometary nucleus, and even in the collapsing solar nebula in the very early Solar System. More.

See also: Origin of life theories at a glance

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4 Replies to “Organic molecules, not previously observed, found in comets?

  1. 1
    daveS says:

    Hmm. It looks like quite a few of these molecules have also been detected in interstellar space (handy list here). Is the significance of the comet/organic chemistry connection primarily the potential to distribute these chemicals throughout a star system, perhaps setting the stage for the development of life?

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    semi related: Hugh Ross recently posted this on facebook:

    Hugh Ross
    I gave three talks to the students and faculty at the Colorado School of Mines in May. We now have stable links to two of the three talks. The three messages were an origins trilogy. The first lecture titled Cosmic Reasons To Believe featured scientific evidence for the origin and design of the universe, the Milky Way Galaxy, and the solar system that life possible on Earth. You can watch the lecture complete with all my visuals here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IeE-ogoe4Y The second lecture titled Origins of Life gives the latest scientific assessment on the origin of life, explains why God must be responsible for life’s origin, and examines attempts to find life elsewhere in the universe. You may watch this lecture complete with all visuals here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTI5mEiz4O0

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Origins of Life – Hugh Ross – video (7:00 minute mark late heavy bombardment and extremely early origin of life, 19:00 minute mark complexity and diversity of first life, 21:00 no life from Mars, 24:00 minute mark no sugars or complex amino acids in space, 27:00 minute mark impossibility of transporting complex organic molecules to earth on comets) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTI5mEiz4O0

  4. 4
    Levan says:

    The whole story of Big Bang until now is the story of matter organized in newer structures: from energy to brain. Nuclei, Atoms, Molecules, stars, galaxies, life, brain.
    No wonder if you can find some molecules in cosmos. Nothing special.
    But the question, why all these things are there is still open.
    The Universe is now very organized structure and it runs to better organization and not to the entropic death.
    Roger Penrose tries to develop the model where you have in the beginning no entropy at all and he wants to explain the structures of the universe that the entopy is increasing but sometimes and somewhere it decreases.
    I think that the answer is simple: in the beginning the entropy was high and the inteligence leads the universe to most complicated systems and structures.
    It could be the only explanation of brain.
    As for mind its another theme.

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