May 15, 2017 04:14 AM EDT
oxygen is the third most abundant element in the universe. It is rarely seen elsewhere outside the Universe, though individual atoms of oxygen are common in space, particularly around massive stars. Now a recent finding shows oxygen can be generated from Comet 67P in space without the need for life.
In 2015, for the first time scientist announced molecular oxygen at Comet 67P was found by Rosetta spacecraft. They said, it was the biggest surprise for them and it could help to understand how the solar system formed.
Scientist discovered that the oxygen was frozen inside the comet since the beginning of solar system some 4.6 billion years ago. They also found, when the Comet 67P close to the Sun, it spreads oxygen.
Chemical engineer Konstantinos P. Giapis uttered, the chemical reactions occurring on Comet 67P's surface were exactly similar to experiments he had been performing in his lab for the past 20 years. According to Caltech Authors, the molecular oxygen at Comet 67P is not ancient. But now it is being produced by an interaction between water molecules coursing off the comet and particles streaming from the sun.
Now scientist briefly described how the oxygen formed. They said the water molecules of the Comet 67P are heated by the Sun. After getting heated, it becomes ionized by UV ray from the Sun, then the sun's wind blows the ionized water molecules back toward the comet. Finally, when it hit backs the comet's surface, which contains oxygen bound in materials such as rust and sand then the molecules pick up another atoms and oxygen is formed.
In addition, this oxygen producing mechanism from Comet 67P could be happening in a wide range of situation, Seeker reported. Moreover, "Understanding the origin of molecular oxygen in space is important for the evolution of the Universe and the origin of life on Earth," wrote by the researchers.
This process is an abiotic process that means oxygen can be produced in space without the need for life. This chemical reaction is based on is based on the seldom-considered class of Eley-Rideal reactions, which occur when fast-moving molecules collide with surface's new molecules. All necessary condition and such reaction exist on Comet 67P.
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