Latest Issue

From the birth of the solar system

Comets could hold the secret of how life began on Earth

By Frank Close   January 2014

Comet Ison: “We still know relatively little about comets. So when a new one appears, there is a unique opportunity to study these fossil relics”

“Comets are like cats: they have tails and do what they want.” This piece of astronomical folklore was confirmed once again as the “comet of the century”—Comet Ison—or formally “C/2012 S/1” hurtled towards the sun in the past few months with the promise of being “brighter than the full moon.”

The hype, however, omitted some important facts. First, on 28th November, when…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect