Philae, the spacecraft that recently made a successful touchdown on Comet 67P, has detected organic molecules on the speeding mass.
Philae, the lander from the Rosetta spacecraft, that recently made a successful touchdown on Comet 67P, has detected organic molecules on the speeding mass.
Making a discovery like that is among its main reasons for being there, as scientists are hoping to get a clearer picture of how carbon-based materials ended up here on Earth.
As they’re the foundation of life as we know it, unlocking the mystery could be a substantial scientific advancement.
The researchers in charge of Philae haven’t revealed any particulars about the find.
They’ve confirmed that it happened, but stopped short of offering clues into the molecules’ complexity or specific type.
What was revealed is that the ice on Comet 67P is much harder than originally thought, and it’s covered by a thin layer of dust.
It’s said it could be a blessing that the lander ended up in a walled trap rather than on the main surface, as the dirt layer there could be much thicker.
It’s unclear if Philae would have been able to reach the surface beneath it.
The lander has proven to be vulnerable to unforeseen challenges.
One of them is a marked decrease in the number of sunlight hours available, which has now left Philae and its information gathering abilities shut down. Scientists hope the batteries will re-charge when it gets closer to the sun in the coming months.
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