Dr Max Wallis and Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe argue that the features of Comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko (currently being studied by the Rosetta spacecraft and Philae lander) are consistent with a mixture of ice and organic material warmed by the sun which can support active micro-organisms. Organic material is found in the black crust of the comet, which also has large flat-bottomed craters of refrozen water. They say that it could be more hospitable to micro-life than the polar regions of Earth, and their computer simulations show that micro-organisms could be active at the low temperatures which occur on the comet, becoming more dynamic as it approaches the Sun. Dr Wallis presented their findings at the Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy meeting in Llandudno on 6 July (read the summary of his paper). Read more in The Huffington Post (6 July), The Independent (6 July) and The Guardian (6 July).
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