Palma de Majorca.—Following the path of a Spanish comet detected by a robotic telescope controlled by the Majorcan Astronomical Observatory at Costitx, could unveil the origin of life on Earth, an Observatory spokesman claimed yesterday.

The comet P/2010 R2, known as La Sagra is being investigated by 39 scientists from 18 universities and research centres around the globe, and so intense is the interest that a special space mission may be launched purely for the purpose of studying the comet.

La Sagra apparently belongs to a very rare class of comet known as the Main Belt Comets (MBC) which contain primordial material dating to the forming of the solar system. There are only five other comets like it known to man.

The study being carried out by scientists points to the existence on the comet of a primitive form of water similar to that found on Earth. The comet, say scientists was stable and active around 100 million years ago. The investigation is largely being financed by the Planetary Science division of NASA.

The Majorcan Observatory has proved to be a leader in the discovery of asteroids and comets and takes an active role in “space watch” organised by the European Space Agency. The Observatory's robotic telescopes have detected more than 6'000 new asteroids, some of them potentially dangerous to the Earth.

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