According to scientists, asteroid dust gathered by a Japanese space craft includes organic substances, indicating that some of the development of life on Earth might well have evolved in space. After the six-year trip to the celestial object 300 million kilometres away, pristine substance from Ryugu , the asteroid was returned to Earth in 2020.
However, in the first studies on small sections of the 5.4 grammes (0.2 ounces) of particles and dark, microscopic boulders, experts are only now beginning to uncover its mysteries.
A group of academics conducted by Okayama University in western Japan claimed to have uncovered “amino acids and other organic substances that could yield hints to the origins of life” in a report published Friday.
“The revelation of protein-forming amino acids is significant as Ryugu has not been introduced to the Earth’s biosphere, as meteorites have, and thus their identification demonstrates that at least some of the origins of life on Earth might have been created in space regions,” according to the study.
After analyzing the material gathered by Japan’s Hayabusa-2 spacecraft in 2019, the team discovered 23 different kinds of amino acids, according to the researchers.
When the fridge-sized spaceship fired a “impactor” into the asteroid, it shook up the dust and boulders.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) claimed in a statement that the Ryugu sample “seems to have the most primitive features of any biological material available to mankind, including meteorites.”
Part of the substance is thought to have been produced roughly five million years just after solar system was born and has never been warmed up past 100 ° C (210 degrees Fahrenheit).
The substance has “a chemical components that more closely reflects the Sun’s photosphere than that of other organic samples,” as per a study released in the US-based magazine “Science.”
The breakthrough was lauded by Kensei Kobayashi, an associate professor and astrobiology expert at Yokohama National University.
“Researchers have been wondering how organic material, including amino acids, was produced from and where it came from,” he told AFP. “The discovery of amino acids in the sample gives grounds to suppose that amino acids could be introduced to Earth from space.”
Another widely held belief for amino acid origins is they’ve been formed in Earth’s ancient atmosphere, such as through power lines, when the planet cooled down.