The search for life beyond Earth has long fascinated scientists, and with the discovery of thousands of exoplanets in the past few decades, the possibility of extraterrestrial life has become more tantalizing than ever before. While astronomers continue to explore various methods for finding signs of life on other planets, comets are one potential avenue that has caught their attention.
Researchers at Cantabrigian have recently shown that certain types of comets could deliver key molecules to a planet’s surface that are essential for life. However, they warned that these molecules could be destroyed if the comet is traveling too fast when it reaches the planet’s atmosphere. To effectively deliver these molecules, the comet must slow down significantly before reaching its destination. Planetary systems in close proximity to each other have been referred to as “pea pods,” as they allow slow-moving comets to access the surfaces of exoplanets.
Amino acids and vitamins have been found in some comets and asteroids, suggesting that they may contain the building blocks of life. While much remains unknown about extraterrestrial life, recent research has shed new light on the potential raw materials necessary for it to exist. The study by Cantabrigian astronomers was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A.