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Rosetta finds molecular oxygen on comet 67P
Phys.org ^ | October 28, 2015 | Staff

Posted on 10/28/2015 12:35:33 PM PDT by Red Badger

This single frame Rosetta navigation camera image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was taken on 7 July 2015 from a distance of 154 km from the comet centre. The image has a resolution of 13.1 m/pixel and measures 13.4 km across. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Stunned scientists announced Wednesday the unexpected discovery of large quantities of oxygen on a comet which streaked past the Sun in August with a European spacecraft in tow. The find came as a "big surprise", and challenges mainstream theories on the formation of our Solar System, said scientist Andre Bieler of the University of Michigan.

Measurements suggested that oxygen molecules in the comet's gassy halo must have existed "before or at" its formation, he told journalists.

This may have implications for mankind's understanding of the chemistry involved in the formation of the Solar System some 4.6 billion years ago.

"We believe this oxygen is primordial, which means it is older than our Solar System," said Bieler.

Scientists had previously ruled out the presence of oxygen (O2) on comets such as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the subject of intensive prodding and sniffing by a European robot probe.

As O2 mixes so easily with other elements, "we never thought that oxygen could 'survive' for billions of years" in a pristine state, said Kathrin Altwegg of the University of Bern, who co-authored a study in the journal Nature.

"This evidence of oxygen as an ancient substance will likely discredit some theoretical models of the formation of our Solar System," she said.

The comet is being tracked on its deep space journey around the Sun by the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft.

Artist impression of ESA's Rosetta approaching comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The comet image was taken on 2 August 2014 by the spacecraft's navigation camera at a distance of about 500 km. The spacecraft and comet are not to scale. Credit: Copyright Spacecraft: ESA/ATG medialab; Comet image: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The historic mission seeks to unlock the mystery of the origins of life on Earth.

Scientists believe that comets "seeded" early Earth with some of the ingredients for life.

Explore further: Mystery of where Earth's water came from deepens: Comet water is different

More information: Nature, nature.com/articles/doi:10.1038/nature15707

Journal reference: Nature


TOPICS: Astronomy; History; Outdoors; Science
KEYWORDS: 67p; abiogenesis; biogenesis; comet; earlyearth; originoflife; oxygen; rosetta
Maybe Earth's oxygen was delivered...................
1 posted on 10/28/2015 12:35:34 PM PDT by Red Badger
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To: SunkenCiv

Comet Ping!..................


2 posted on 10/28/2015 12:41:56 PM PDT by Red Badger (READ MY LIPS: NO MORE BUSHES!...............)
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To: Red Badger

Why is this surprising? Oxygen is the 3rd most abundant element in the universe, behind hydrogen & helium.


3 posted on 10/28/2015 12:47:35 PM PDT by akalinin
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To: akalinin

They didn’t expect to find molecular oxygen on a comet. They must now revise their previous attitudes of how Earth came to have its oxygen, since they have said for decades that our water came from comets, apparently or oxygen did as well......................


4 posted on 10/28/2015 12:49:57 PM PDT by Red Badger (READ MY LIPS: NO MORE BUSHES!...............)
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To: Red Badger

Ionization can free oxygen, what else?


5 posted on 10/28/2015 12:54:35 PM PDT by texas booster (Join FreeRepublic's Folding@Home team (Team # 36120) Cure Alzheimer's!)
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To: Red Badger

You know, if those fellas keep digging, they may stumble upon the fact that, In the Beginning God Created the Heavens and the Earth.


6 posted on 10/28/2015 1:03:40 PM PDT by Tucker39 (Welcome to America! Now speak English; and keep to the right....In driving, in Faith, and politics.)
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To: texas booster

Electrolysis.


7 posted on 10/28/2015 1:25:54 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: akalinin

Oxygen is the second most corrosive element in the Universe, only fluorine is more active.

Oxygen only exists as a free element in the earth’s atmosphere because of the constant replenishment through photosynthesis. There may be other forms of photosynthesis elsewhere, but the practicality of uncombined oxygen, in the absence of frequent replenishment, is highly unlikely.


8 posted on 10/28/2015 1:34:59 PM PDT by alloysteel (Do not argue with trolls. That means they win.)
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To: akalinin

Wow, a comet towing a spacecraft, wonder who hooked it up.


9 posted on 10/28/2015 2:04:49 PM PDT by ully2
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To: ully2

Isaac Newton.


10 posted on 10/28/2015 2:08:07 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: alloysteel

I wonder if life could develop that breathes fluorine.


11 posted on 10/28/2015 2:10:00 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: Moonman62

12 posted on 10/28/2015 2:12:55 PM PDT by Toddsterpatriot ("Telling the government to lower trade barriers to zero...is government interference" central_va)
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