Water may have arrived on Earth thanks to these asteroids

Samples collected by Hayabusa-2 from the asteroid Ryugu contain water and organic matter like amino acids that asteroids may have first brought to Earth.

Published Aug 17, 2022 6:55 AM CDT   |   Updated Thu, Sep 8 2022 2:09 AM CDT
1 minute & 17 seconds read time

A study on the asteroids titled "A pristine record of outer Solar System materials from asteroid Ryugu's returned sample" has been published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

Water may have arrived on Earth thanks to these asteroids 02 | TweakTown.com

Researchers are beginning to publish findings relating to the Ryugu asteroid, sampled by the Japanese Hayabusa-2 space probe during a six-year mission. The probe launched in December 2014, traveling approximately 300 million kilometers (186 million miles) to reach Ryugu. It collected 5.4 grams (0.2 ounces) of rocks and dust from Ryugu by firing an "impactor" into the asteroid's surface after landing on it in April 2019.

Hayabusa-2 returned to Earth in 2020, bringing evidence that key molecules essential for life on Earth may have first formed in space, before being brought to Earth. These include organic materials like amino acids as well as water. According to a recent study by Japanese researchers, "volatile and organic-rich C-type asteroids may have been one of the main sources of Earth's water."

They noted that the subject of volatile compounds like water and organic material being delivered to Earth from outer space is still up for debate. Still, their presence in matter collected from Ryugu indicates similar asteroids in the early Solar System were likely an important source of volatiles.

"Ryugu particles are undoubtedly among the most uncontaminated Solar System materials available for laboratory study and ongoing investigations of these precious samples will certainly expand our understanding of early Solar System processes. Ryugu particles are the best proxy we have for the bulk composition of the Solar System," the study said.

You can read more from the study here.

NEWS SOURCES:phys.org, doi.org

Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

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