Organic Matter in Cometary EnvironmentsOPEN ACCESS 

Adam J. McKay and Nathan X. Roth

Life 2021, 11(1), 37

PDF (download)

“Comets contain primitive material leftover from the formation of the Solar System, making studies of their composition important for understanding the formation of volatile material in the early Solar System. This includes organic molecules, which, for the purpose of this review, we define as compounds with C–H and/or C–C bonds. In this review, we discuss the history and recent breakthroughs of the study of organic matter in comets, from simple organic molecules and photodissociation fragments to large macromolecular structures. We summarize results both from Earth-based studies as well as spacecraft missions to comets, highlighted by the Rosetta mission, which orbited comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko for two years, providing unprecedented insights into the nature of comets. We conclude with future prospects for the study of organic matter in comets. “