Water may have been transported to Earth by asteroids from the solar system’s outskirts, according to scientists who analyzed rare samples acquired on a six-year Japanese space mission. Researchers are examining material brought back to Earth from the asteroid Ryugu in 2020 in order to offer insight into the beginnings of life and the genesis of the cosmos.
The 5.4 grams (0.2 ounces) of pebbles and dust were collected by Hayabusa-2, a Japanese space probe that landed on the celestial planet and fired an “impactor” into its surface. Studies on the material are beginning to be published, and one group of researchers said in June that they had discovered organic material indicating that some of the building blocks of life on Earth, amino acids, may have evolved in space. According to recent research published in the journal Nature Astronomy, the Ryugu samples might provide answers to the enigma of how seas first evolved on Earth billions of years ago.
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