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"Seeds" that could have given rise to life on Earth discovered in samples from asteroid Ryugu

Dmytro IvancheskulNews
Life on Earth could have formed as a result of a collision with an asteroid

"Cometary organic matter" was found in samples brought to Earth from the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu. This confirms the theory that life on Earth could have originated as a result of a collision with one of the ancient asteroids.

This is stated in a study published in Science Advances. The Futurism publication provided details of the discovery, which could rewrite history.

Japan's Hayabusa 2 spacecraft visited Ryugu in 2018 and returned samples to Earth in December 2020, providing scientists with potentially invaluable information about the origin of life on Earth.

Since then, the researchers have been studying the samples and have concluded that the surface of these samples likely contains organic molecules.

They suggest that when one of these asteroids collided with the Earth in the past, volatile substances such as nitrogen and oxygen could have evaporated from the heated cometary organic matter, which subsequently contributed to the formation of carbonaceous materials on the planet.

Megumi Matsumoto, associate professor and co-author of the study, believes that the organic matter found could be the "little seeds of life that once came from space to Earth."

As described in the study, Matsumoto's team found "molten splashes" in the Ryugu samples, ranging in width from 5 to 20 micrometers. They could have been formed when cometary dust fell onto the airless space rock. It was in these splashes that the researchers found "carbonaceous materials" that resemble primitive organics.

"The chemical composition of the molten splashes indicates that Ryugu's hydrosilicates have mixed with cometary dust," Matsumoto said.

The discovery of Japanese scientists echoes the first research conducted by NASA scientists studying samples delivered by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft from the asteroid Bennu.

In October, NASA said that they had discovered the "building blocks of life" in preliminary samples that were outside the capsule of the spacecraft's sample collection tool. At the time, the agency was unable to open the main capsule due to mounting problems.

In order to make a final conclusion that life on Earth was formed from organic matter that accidentally came to the planet from space, scientists will need to conduct further and rather lengthy research. But the first results should inspire them.

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