Title

THERMAL HISTORY, CHEMICAL-COMPOSITION AND RELATIONSHIP OF COMETS TO THE ORIGIN OF LIFE

Publication Date

1980

Journal or Book Title

NATURE

Abstract

It is generally believed that a comet consists basically of a loose conglomeration of frozen gases with embedded material similar to that found in the carbonaceous chondritic meteorites, and consequently that comets may be nearly pristine samples of the original solar nebula1−5. We show here that thermal processing within comets could have played an important part in determining their present state; in particular, we find that liquid water might have been available in some comets over geologically and biologically significant spans of time. It follows that a cometary origin is not excluded for some thermally metamorphosed meteorites and asteroids, that comets may contain quite complex organic molecules, and that comets may have played a role in the origin and conceivably even in the subsequent evolution of terrestrial life.

Comments

The published version is located at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v283/n5749/abs/283748a0.html

Volume

283

Pages

748-749

Issue

5749

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