After the spacecraft Rosetta offered insight into the structure of comet 67P or Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August 2014 scientists observed some deep circular pits whose reason of existence and origin were not clear. Researchers have analyzed close-up images of comet 67P and have reached the conclusion that the pits are sinkholes which formed when the ice beneath the surface of the comet sublimated or turned to gas.
Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe and Dr. Max Wallis from the University of Cardiff are of the opinion that 67P and other similar comets could be beneficial for living microbes such as extremophiles which can also be found in the inhospitable areas of our own planet. In the early life of the solar system such comets could have helped bringing life on planets such Earth and Mars.
The comet 67P is approximately four kilometers long and has the shape of a rubber duck. Scientists say that the most plausible explanation for the features which were discovered on its surface – fact that the comet has a black crust which is rich in hydrocarbon- is the existence of alien microbes under the icy surface. Most intriguing is the fact that the black crust keeps getting replenished even if it is at the same time warmed by the Sun.
The material collected by Rosetta seems to be similar to viral particles. However Rosetta and Philae are not provided with the right tolls to search for direct evidence of life. When they prepared for this mission space scientists suggested that such tools could be useful, but their request was refused.
The astronomers will present the theory according to which there might be alien life forms on comet 67P at the Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy Meeting which will take place in Llandudno, Wales.
Professor Wickramasinghe declared:
“What we’re saying is that data coming from the comet seems to unequivocally, in my opinion, point to micro-organisms being involved in the formation of the icy structures, the preponderance of aromatic hydrocarbons, and the very dark surface.”
Dr. Max Wallis said that Rosetta has proved that the comet should not be regarded as a deep-frozen inactive body, but as a celestial body which is favorable for geological processes and which could even be more hospitable to micro-life than areas on Earth are, such as the Arctic and Antarctic regions.
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