Scientists at the University of Turku, Finland have discovered phosphorus and fluorine in particulate matter collected from
Dust particles were collected using COmetarySecondary Ion Mass Analyzer (COSIMA). The instrument was carried aboard the European Space Agency (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft. The mission tracked the comet over a distance of several kilometers between September 2014 and September 2016. The COSIMA instrument collected dust particles in the immediate vicinity of the comet. The particles were photographed and measured with a mass spectrometer. All steps were monitored from Earth.
This is the first time that CHNOPS elements necessary for life have been found in solid cometary matter.
Acronym CHNOPS, stands for Carbon(carbon), Hydrogen (hydrogen), Nitrogen (nitrogen), Oxygen (oxygen), Phosphorus (phosphorus) and Sulfur (sulfur). These are the six most important chemical elements whose covalent combinations make up the majority of biological molecules on Earth.
About carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and sulfurreported in previous studies by the COSIMA team. The discovery of these phosphorus and fluorine confirms the comet theory, according to which these objects delivered vital elements to the still young Earth.
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