Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Comet Dust Has Hints of Organic Matter

`Specks of comet dust carried to Earth inside a NASA science probe show tantalizing hints of organic compounds, bolstering suspicions that comets delivered key ingredients for the development of life on Earth.

Analysis of the samples brought back last month aboard the Stardust capsule is in the very early stages, but lead scientist Donald Brownlee said this week that he is encouraged by what researchers have found so far.

“We’re seeing a variety of things that we know absolutely come from a comet,” Brownlee, an astronomer with the University of Washington, said at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Though analysis has just begun, the samples so far have revealed iron, sulfides, glassy materials and traces of olivine.’

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