Astronomers have discovered that phosphorous, a chemical needed by all living things on Earth and considered as the origin of life on the planet, came to the planet on the back of a comet four billion years ago, where they tracked the journey of chemicals from their creation in the star-forming space regions and eventually reaching The land where it helped start life, an international team of astronomers studied the regions that form stars and comets around Jupiter for their discovery.
According to the British newspaper “Daily Mail”, they found that phosphorous is found inside dust that eventually turns into comets, one of which hit the Earth billions of years before, which made the chemical reach the planet.
Phosphorous is used in the body to make chemical phosphates, which are vital for cell membranes, muscles, nerves and bones, and it forms the backbone of DNA.
“Life appeared on Earth about four billion years ago, but we still do not know the processes that made this possible,” said Victor Rivella, lead researcher in the study.
An international team of astronomers used a group of telescopes in Chile called the Atacama Large Millimeter Submillimeter Array (Alma), as they studied an area in the Auriga constellation known as AFGL 5142, in which stars are formed to see if the chemical’s foundations can be found.
The team discovered that when massive stars form, they open cavities in the clouds surrounding interstellar gas and dust where phosphorous-based compounds are created.
Astronomers studied data from the European Space Agency probe “Rosina”, which was launched in 2004 to study comet 67P, and found evidence of phosphorus monoxide, as NASA continues to discover space and what comets carry through their flights, among which the NASA spacecraft collected a sample Dust from previously guilty and brought back to Earth for his studies.
Scientists say, the results allowed them to track the journey of phosphorus from the regions that make stars to comets and then to planets through the comet strikes.
Astronomers believe that when the walls of the lumen collapse in interstellar clouds to form a star, phosphorus monoxide can be trapped in the icy dust grains that remain around the new star.
These dust grains gradually collect to form gravel, rocks and comets at the end, which then becomes a phosphorus oxide transporter.
“Phosphorous is necessary for life as we know it,” said Catherine Altvig from the University of Bern in Switzerland and researcher of the study.
“Since comets have delivered large amounts of organic compounds to Earth, the phosphorous oxide in comet 67P may enhance the relationship between comets and life on Earth,” she added.
It is important to understand our cosmic origins, Professor Leonardo Testi, astronomer and director of European ALMA operations, said, “This includes knowing how widespread chemical conditions are conducive to the emergence of life.”