Comets

The possible scenario of the impact that created the Moon (a) and the following arrival of water (b) (Image Jessica J. Barnes et al.)

An article published in the journal “Nature Communications” describes a research about the water on the Moon and concluded that it was brought mostly by asteroids that struck it between 4.5 and 4.3 billion years ago. Until now, scientists generally thought that water was transported by comets but according to the international team led by Jessica Barnes of the British Open University things are different.

The comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko photographed on March 25, 2015, one of the moments of the organic molecules detections (Photo ESA/Rosetta/NavCam – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0)

An article published in the journal “Science Advances” describes the discovery of ingredients that are considered key to the origin of life on Earth on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In particular, glycine, an amino acid found in proteins, and phosphorus, an element that forms DNA and cell membranes. These observations were made by the ROSINA instrument aboard ESA’s Rosetta space probe.

Artistic representation of the comet C/2014 S3 (PANSTARRS) (Image ESO/M. Kornmesser)

An article published in the journal “Science Advances” describes a research about comet C/2014 S3 (PANSTARRS), which was preserved in the Oort cloud for billions of years while maintaining almost the same features it had at the time of its formation. Its peculiarity is that it seems to be composed of the same materials of the inner areas of the solar system so it’s a kind of fossil of the times of the Earth’s formation.

The colors changing on the surface of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (Image ESA/ATG medialab; Data: ESA/Rosetta/VIRTIS/INAF-IAPS/OBS DE PARIS-LESIA/DLR; G. Filacchione et al (2016))

An article published in the journal “Icarus” describes the change in colors and brightness found on the surface of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by ESA’s Rosetta space probe. These are the first findings of a study and concern the months immediately following Rosetta’s arrival in the comet’s orbit, in August 2014.

An article published in “The Astrophysical Journal Letters” describes an analysis conducted on data collected by ESA’s Rosetta space probe’s ROSINA instrument that allowed to established that the ice on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has a crystalline form. It may seem a trivial problem, however such nature implies that it originated in the protosolar nebula and is as old as the solar system.