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Why should we study comets?

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Quick Answer

Studying comets could provide scientists with information about the origin of the Solar System and answer the question of whether or not they brought water to early Earth. Scientists also believe that comets could carry organic molecules that serve as the basic building blocks of life.

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Full Answer

Astronomers believe that comets could be the oldest and most primitive objects in the Solar System. Around 4.6 billion years ago, a massive cloud of gas and dust collapsed to create the sun and planets. Astronomers say that comets, frozen balls of ice and dust, probably formed soon after the collapse. If comets did form at that time, their composition may provide information about the formation of the Solar System and what it was like in its early stages.

Scientists also theorize that comets could have been the source for much of the water found on earth today. They hope that further study of comets will provide evidence that these so-called dirty snowballs could have brought water to our planet. It is also possible that comets contain volatile carbon-rich elements that provide information on the basic elements that make up our Solar System.

There is also a possibility that comets contain materials from stars that formed before the sun.

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