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Assessing scientific value of organic matter on comet premature — Russian scientist

November 18, 2014, 18:55 UTC+3 MOSCOW
“The fact of finding organic matter on the comet is not news in itself," leading researcher of the Astronomy Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) Dmitry Vibe
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MOSCOW, November 18. /TASS/. The talk of the scientific importance of finding organic matter by the Philae probe on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is so far premature, says leading researcher of the Astronomy Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) Dmitry Vibe.

“The fact of finding organic matter on the comet is not news in itself — organic molecules were registered in the comet vicinity by remote observations from the Earth. So the probe was fitted with the special equipment for their detailed study,” said the scientist.

He said that the German space agency has so far not published any information except the fact of finding organic matter. “If they have more details, the results of their analysis will be known after some time,” Vibe said.

A study of the comet’s organic materials “will help us understand whether organic molecules were brought by comets to the early earth,” which could have kick-started life here, said Stephan Ulamec, the Philae lander manager and scientist at the German Aerospace Center.

The Russian scientist said that organic matter is frequently found in outer space. “The question is how the wildlife organic matter is linked with non-biological organics that emerged without the help of living organisms. This question may be somewhat clarified by the study of the Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet with the space probe,” the astronomer said.

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