The European Space Agency's probe Philae has been struggling to solidify communication since its launch, but a recent discovery is proving these difficulties more than worth it. Philae found several organic molecules on a comet nicknamed "Chury." Even more astounding is the fact that four of these molecules are essential in the formation of organic life, and they have never been found on a comet before, according to the Agence France-Presse.
Lander system engineer Laurence O'Rourke commented on the new discovery, saying, "If you apply energy to such organic compounds ... like a comet hitting a planet ... it could lead to the creation of amino acids which make up proteins, which are the basis of life itself," according to CNN.
The probe landed on Comet 67P in November 2014 and began taking measurements and analyzing compounds that made up the comet. The lander itself is still considered lost, even though it has made sporadic contact with the ESA. However, the 60 hours of observation it communicated back were a wealth of knowledge that surprised even the scientists who received them, according to The New York Times.
The lead scientist, Jean-Pierre Bibring, noted the discovery of large dark grains that they believe to be made up of complex light-absorbing organic molecules. "This is fundamental. We didn't know that," he said in a statement.
Sixteen compounds have been found and identified in total. They fall into six different classes of organic molecules, including alcohols and amino acids, AFP reported.
The molecules found on this comet have convinced many scientists that they'll be able to fully understand the origins of human life, and they hope to receive another transmission from the lost probe soon.