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European robot lab piggybacking on a comet nears the sun

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The mystery that surrounds the origin of life on this Earth is about to unfold a little bit. It is because a European robot lab that is piggybacking on a comet through space is about to skirt the sun.

When the comet moves closest to the sun in a solar orbit, scientists are hoping that due to this heat of perihelion the icy crust of the comet’s ‘enigmatic traveller’ will shed a bit. If that happens then the comet is likely to emit pristine particles left more than 4.6 billion years ago during the birth of the solar system. If this kind of a change occurs in the comet named 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko then the nearby orbiting European spacecraft Rosetta will capture all the possible clues that suggest the origin of our solar system.

On Thursday the celestial traveller which is ancient will reach closest to the sun at a distance of 116 million miles before it starts on its orbital journey once again that will last for 6.5 years. For the last couple of weeks the comet’s surface has been emitting dust and gas off its surface as the heat from the nearing sun is transforming its previously frozen crust into a ‘space tempest’.

 

Mark McCaughrean, expert at the European Space Agency told the press that this is the most exciting moment as all the action is happening now thus providing an opportunity to procure and analyse materials such as rare molecule species, especially organic molecules. The cherry on the cake would be if the comet’s ‘neck’, that is duck-shaped and which has a 1,640 feet crack, were to split into two to give an insight into the raw materials inside.

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