Rosetta's comet is shown in this handout photo taken August 22, 2014 and provided by the European Space Agency, September 28, 2015. The comet being studied by Europe's orbiting Rosetta spacecraft started off as two separate bodies that later fused, giving rise to the comet's odd rubber ducky shape, a study published on Monday showed. Reuters/ESA-Rosetta

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft has been probing the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, also known as Rosetta’s comet, for two years. Recently, the scientists discovered ingredients on the comet that are regarded as crucial to the origins of life. This is for the first time scientists have directly detected key organic compounds in Comet 67P reinforcing the notion that celestial objects delivered essential chemical building blocks of life to Earth and also throughout the Solar System.

The scientists claim that they discovered the building blocks of life in a gassy atmosphere surrounding the comet. They found clear evidence of the amino acid glycine and phosphorous that helps build DNA, the study stated. The study was published in the journal Science Advances.

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Previously, simple organic molecules had been found around the comet but this is the first time that Comet 67P yielded elements that are essential to the origin of life on Earth.

“There is still a lot of uncertainty regarding the chemistry on early Earth and there is of course a huge evolutionary gap to fill between the delivery of these ingredients via cometary impacts and life taking hold. But the important point is that comets have not really changed in 4.5 billion years: they grant us direct access to some of the ingredients that likely ended up in the prebiotic soup that eventually resulted in the origin of life on Earth,” said co-author Hervé Cottin in an ESA statement.

ESA’s Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis (Rosina) has already found multitude of organic molecules. Now that Rosetta has found fundamental ingredients like glycine and phosphorous, Rosetta's UK project scientist Dr. Matt Taylor believes that “comets have the potential to deliver key molecules for prebiotic chemistry.” Taylor is delighted with the result after demonstrating the fact that comets are Solar System’s primitive material reservoirs that they transported to Earth.

Out of the 20 amino acids that form the protein alphabet, glycine is the smallest of them all. They link together in chains to create proteins that are fundamental to the functioning and structure of living cells.

“Glycine is the only amino acid that is known to be able to form without liquid water, and the fact we see it with the precursor molecules and dust suggests it is formed within interstellar icy dust grains or by the ultraviolet irradiation of ice, before becoming bound up and conserved in the comet for billions of years,” said lead author of the paper, Kathrin Altwegg.