Major space breakthrough discovers exactly what sparked life on earth

Its journey started from parts of star-forming areas of space, billions of light-years away from our planet. And now this has been tracked by astronomers.

The experts used data from the ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array), a huge telescope in Chile, and combined it the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) version – Rosetta.

What they discovered was that collections of gas and dust between stars moved to our planet, which then started life as we know it.

According to the Daily Star, author Dr Victor Rivilla, who works at the Italian Institute of Astrophysics, said: “Life appeared on Earth about four billion years ago, but we still do not know the processes that made it possible.”

Phosphorus is used in our own bodies.

It makes the chemical phosphate, which is pivotal to cell membranes, muscles, and even nerves.

Experts found parts of this on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Using ALMA, the international team could pinpoint precisely where the phosphorus-bearing molecules were incepted.

Professor Leonardo Testi, a ESO astronomer and ALMA European Operations Manager, said to the Daily Star: ”Understanding our cosmic origins, including how common the chemical conditions favourable for the emergence of life are, is a major topic of modern astrophysics.

“While ESO and ALMA focus on the observations of molecules in distant young planetary systems, the direct exploration of the chemical inventory within our Solar System is made possible by ESA missions, like Rosetta.

“The synergy between world-leading ground-based and space facilities, through the collaboration between ESO and ESA, is a powerful asset for European researchers and enables transformational discoveries like the one reported in this paper.”

Meanwhile, co-author Dr Kathrin Altwegg, who is a principal investigator for Rosina, said: “Phosphorus is essential for life as we know it.

“As comets most probably delivered large amounts of organic compounds to the Earth, the phosphorus monoxide found in comet 67P may strengthen the link between comets and life on Earth.”

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Using data from the ROSINA instrument which is sat onboard ESA’s Rosetta, experts found that phosphorus monoxide on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as well.

Dr Rivilla continued: ”The combination of the ALMA and ROSINA data has revealed a sort of chemical thread during the whole process of star formation, in which phosphorus monoxide plays the dominant role.”

It comes as NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch, who left out of the International Space Station on Wednesday, encountered a huge issue.

Their mission – to replace batteries on solar arrays – had to abruptly end.

Just half hour into the spacewalk, Koch’s helmet video camera system, while the lights came loose, too.

“We will continue and try and keep you two together as much as possible,” Mission Control responded to the crisis.

“Great,” one said. “Perfect,” said the other. Earth was visible below them.

“Just be careful,” Mission Control told Koch. “You’re missing that additional protection.”

A frenzy then ensured, with the astronauts trying to manically reattach the equipment to the helmet.

Luckily the pair turned out to be fine, but the mission, which is expected to last six and a half hours, was put around minutes behind schedule.

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