It's a major discovery that could increase our understanding of where life came from.
Scientists are positively astonished by something they’ve discovered on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimneko.
The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft made history when it landed the Philae probe on the surface of the distant comet back in November 2014, and a new discovery could shake our knowledge of how life was created to the core: scientists have confirmed the presence of the amino acid glycine, according to an ESA statement.
Glycine is what living organisms use to make proteins, making it incredible that scientists would find one of the building blocks for life sitting on a comet hurtling through the galaxy, and adding credence to the idea that comets and asteroids may have brought life here to Earth billions of years ago.
While scientists had detected glycine on samples from a different comet in 2006, concerns about contamination resulted in much doubt over whether it was there to begin with. But this discovery proves that glycine does exist on comets, and it further indicates that it may be a common ingredient found throughout the universe.
Scientists also found phosphorus, another key element for living organisms, and it’s the first time they’ve found it on a comet.
All of this is strong evidence that a long-running hypothesis that comets and asteroids brought life to Earth may have a lot of credibility.
“These findings are important not only because of their novelty and the rigour of the study, but because they point the way to the development of targeted treatments that potentially could better address some of the core pathology in schizophrenia,” said Dr. Jeffrey Reiss, Site Chief, Psychiatry, LHSC, in the statement. “Brain plasticity and the development of related therapies would contribute to a new optimism in an illness that was 100 years ago described as premature dementia for its seemingly progressive deterioration.”
“Dr. Palaniyappan and his colleagues have opened new avenues of research into our understanding of schizophrenia,” added Dr. Paul Links, Chair/Chief, Psychiatry, LHSC. “Their findings may lead us to be able to harness the brain’s own compensatory changes in the face of this illness and improve recovery. We are excited that Dr. Palaniyappan will be continuing this important clinical research here in London with his international colleagues.”