The possibility of life existing on other planets has fascinated scientists for decades. With the discovery of thousands of exoplanets since the 1990s, astronomers continue to search for ways to find life beyond Earth. One potential option in this quest is the use of comets as carriers of life’s important molecules.
Researchers at Cantabrigian have shown that certain types of comets could deliver the building blocks of life to a planet’s surface. However, they caution that the comet’s speed must slow down before it reaches the exoplanet’s atmosphere, as the molecules are destroyed if it travels too fast. These comets have been referred to as “pea pod”-like because they can access the surface of exoplanets in close-knit planetary communities. Some comets and asteroids have been found to contain molecular foundations to life, including amino acids and vitamins.
Cantabrigian astronomers have released their findings in a study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A, shedding light on the raw materials needed for life to exist beyond our own planet. While this research has provided valuable insights into the potential origins of extraterrestrial life, much remains unknown about how and where such life might develop or survive.