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The Philae lander just found organic matter on a comet

The Philae lander just found organic matter on a comet
Image courtesy of European Space Agency/ AP news

Remember when the world rejoiced as the little Philae lander made first contact with a comet in flight? Then we lost contact, but rejoiced again after it woke back up flying past the sun. Now we've interpreted the data and made a shocking discovery.

Organic molecules - the building blocks of life - exist on the comet's surface.

Before losing what brief communication the control team had with the Philae earlier this month, they were sent data from the lander about large grains of organic matter. These grains were found on the Comet 67P, they were over a millimeter wide and made of light-absorbing molecules.

These molecules are the very basic building blocks of life, which means that scientists now have a mission to explore the possibility of life on other planets (and comets) even more fervently. Although the cells found on Mars and now this comet are nowhere close to what life on Earth looks like, it still teaches us more about the universe than we ever imagined.

Next page: First things, first. Getting back communication with Philae
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