The Philae space probe was powered down earlier than expected, but not before an instrument discovered an organic compound that was first detected in the comet’s atmosphere, the Wall Street Journal exclusively reported Monday. The find is extraordinary considering the organic compound contains the carbon atom, which is the basis of life on planet Earth. Further research is being conducted to see if there are complex compounds like amino acids or simple ones like methane and methanol, considered “building blocks” for proteins. The research “will help us to understand whether organic molecules were brought by comets to the early earth,” Stephan Ulamec, the Philae’s landing manager said, according to the Journal. “Prior to falling silent, the lander was able to transmit all science data gathered during the First Science Sequence,” Ulamec said. “This machine performed magnificently under tough conditions, and we can be fully proud of the incredible scientific success Philae has delivered.” Before it went idle, Philae conducted 60 hours of work on Comet 67P, The Conversation said. One of its missions was to ascertain if complex organic molecules, which could have helped create Earth billions of years ago, existed on comets.