Navigation Links
NASA probe could reveal comet life, scientists claim

Cardiff (UK) scientists are playing a major role in a NASA mission, which they believe could reveal living matter in the icy layers beneath the surface of a comet.

NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft will make a historic encounter with Comet Tempel-1 on 4th July, when a metre-long projectile will crash into the comet and tunnel through its outer layers, producing a crater and a plume of gas and dust.

UK astronomers involved in monitoring the comet before, during and after the impact and interpreting the results include Cardiff University's Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe and Dr Max Wallis at the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology. They will conduct their study through instruments on the mother spacecraft.

The Cardiff scientists predict that Deep Impact will verify their theory that the outer crust of the comet will consist of asphalt-like material with permafrost beneath. The small icy fragments blasted out by the impact will include organic matter, they suggest.

The mainly copper projectile will hit the comet at 25,000 miles per hour and will penetrate 15-20 metres into the surface before exploding. The comet will remain intact despite losing a huge amount of material ?100,000 tonnes from a 100 metre diameter crater, and the impact is not expected to alter the comet's orbit.

"Not only is Deep Impact a spectacular experiment, it is also a test for our long-standing arguments," added Professor Wickramasinghe. "It will show, we believe, that a comet is not a rubble pile, nor a conglomerate of ices, but a porous mass of organics and ice under the black asphalt crust."

Comets are thought to have accumulated from a mixture of ices and organic interstellar dust at the time the solar system was formed some 4.6 billion years ago.

"This material is quite porous, so it is daring again to predict that subsurface ponds or lakes form transiently due to heat penetrating the exterior crust. We can thus expect biology on comets to have similarities with antarctic biology," added Professor Wickramasinghe.


Source:Cardiff University

Related biology news :

1. UCSB scientists probe sea floor venting to gain understanding of early life on Earth
2. Self-assembled nano-sized probes allow Penn researchers to see tumors through flesh and skin
3. Products containing specific probes for detecting alternative splice forms protected
4. Duke engineers develop new 3-D cardiac imaging probe
5. Agilent Technologies releases probe sequence, annotation information for all its commercial gene expression microarrays
6. A probe, not an echo
7. Montreal researchers probe the genetic basis of memory
8. MBL researchers probe how an ancient microbe thrives and evolves without sex
9. Smart nanoprobes light up disease
10. Magnetic probe successfully tracks implanted cells in cancer patients
11. MIT engineers probe spiders polymer art
Post Your Comments:

(Date:12/1/2015)... SAN JOSE, Calif. , Dec. 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... developer of human interface solutions, today announced a new ... to enable OEMs with real-world test and development environments ... Nok Labs solutions. The partnership reduces the complexity of ... servers and software permits Synaptics and OEMs to verify ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 2015  BIOCLAIM announced today that is has ... Innovation Awards:  Healthcare Edition, an awards program from ... FierceHealthcare , and FierceMobileHealthcare ... the category of "Privacy and Cybersecurity." ... --> Photo - ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... Research and Markets ( ) has announced the ... and Patent Infringement Risk Analysis" report to their ... Fingerprint sensors using capacitive technology represent a fast ... Idex forecasts an increase of 360% of the number ... the fingerprint sensor market between 2014 and 2017 (source ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... SICM Module, an add-on scanning ion conductance microscopy module to Park NX10 that ... an AFM. , Park SICM benefits virtually all materials characterization that require measurements ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... provider, announces that its best selling system laboratory animal colony management software solution, ... today, without investing in on-site IT resources., , Many ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... , ... December 01, 2015 ... ... leading relationship marketing company specializing in scientifically backed, age-defying products, is featured ... issue, which highlights the exponential success and unrivaled opportunities that Nerium provides. ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... SAN FRANCISCO , Dec. 1, 2015  Symic, ... and affect the extracellular matrix (ECM), today announced that ... financing to advance the company,s pipeline, including its lead ... Lilly Ventures and includes the participation by all existing ... new funding brings the total capital raised by Symic ...
Breaking Biology Technology: