The Philae lander has found organic molecules – which are essential for life – on the surface of the comet where it touched down last week.
The spacecraft managed to beam back evidence of the carbon and–hydrogen–containing chemicals shortly before it entered hibernation mode to conserve falling power supplies.
Although scientists are still to reveal what kind of molecules have been found on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the discovery could provide new clues about how the early chemical ingredients that lead to life on Earth arrived on the planet.
Many scientists believe they may have been carried here on an asteroid or comet that collided with the Earth during its early history.
The DLR German Aerospace Centre, which built the Cosac instrument, confirmed it had found organic molecules.