A few years ago, the European Space Agency published raw images of comet 67p / Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the best-studied object of its type to date, taken at close range by an instrument called OSIRIS aboard the spacecraft.
Mark McCaughrean, a scientist at ESA and part of the research group on the Rosetta probe project, said that the animation shows the "cosmic snow" falling on the comet with stars from the Big Dog constellation visible in the background, noise on the camera matrix caused by hitting the high-energy particles from the sun and the noise generated by the camera itself.
Although it is not the kind of snowfall that occurs on our planet, the whole animation looks phenomenal. The Rosetta spacecraft has provided the world of astronomy with valuable data and beautiful pictures of comet 67P for two years. Thanks to this, like never in history, we got to know these fascinating and mysterious objects that traverse our solar system and have been the source of many legends since the dawn of time. The Rosetta spacecraft crashed into the comet's nucleus in late September 2016.
Interestingly, in the spring of this year the world spread the news that scientists from ESA discovered substances related to the origin of life in the tail (coma) of comet 67P, namely phosphorus and amino acid (glycine) as well as hydrogen sulfide and hydrogen cyanide.
This is an extremely valuable and fascinating discovery, as phosphorus is a key component of DNA, and glycine is commonly found in proteins in living organisms. The ESA scientists emphasize that for the first time in the history of space exploration, glycine has been discovered on a comet.
en gas is an essential element for the emergence of life. Detecting it on a comet means that such objects can be cosmic incubators, on which the building blocks of life can be placed and transported across the abyss of the Universe. Astrobiologists believe that this is further evidence of the panspermia hypothesis that the elements necessary for the origin of life to Earth were brought (e.g. by comets) from the depths of space.