Astronomers claim presence of Life on Philae’s Comet

[dropcap size=small]A[/dropcap]ccording to the leading astronomers’ comet 67P/ Churyumov–Gerasimenko on which the spacecraft Philae landed could be a host to an alien microbial life. Robotic Space Agency Lander Philae accompanied by Rosetta spacecraft landed on the comet on 12 November 2014; this probe was first ever to achieve a soft landing on the nucleus of a comet. Philae is monitored and operated from DLR’s Lander Control Centre in Cologne, Germany.


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Philae’s main mission was to land safely on the comet, attach itself to the surface and transmit data about the composition of the comet. [highlight color=#ff0000 ]When Philae was being built it was considered unlikely that life would ever exist on the comet i.e. why there are no equipment attached to the probe which can detect symptoms of life.[/highlight]


The two main reasons behind the buzzworthy claim of existence of microbial life on the comet are–

  • The presence of organic rich coal-black crust over lakes of ice, most likely explained by presence of living organisms beneath the icy surface.
  • Spacecraft Rosetta orbiting the comet has picked up strange clusters of organic material resembling viral particles.


Furthermore, the gas ejection on the comet started at a distance too far away from the sun to trigger sublimation, so the possible reason could be the microbes beneath the surface of the comet had been up building high pressure gases that crack the icy surface and vent organic particles out. Organisms containing anti-freezing salts are good at adapting to very low temperatures (as low as -40 degrees) like on comet 67/ P.

Prof. Chandra Wickramasinghe who was involved in the mission planning 15 years ago said “Five hundred years ago it was a struggle to have people accept the earth was not the centre of the universe. After that revolution our thinking has remain earth centred in relation to life and biology. It’s deeply ingrained in our scientific culture and it will take a lot of evidence to kick it over.”


Surface of comet 67P/ Churyumov–Gerasimenko


The claim of possibility of microbial life on the comet was presented on July 6 at National Astronomy Meeting of Royal Astronomical Society in Llandudno, Wales.