Scientists have discovered a large number of organic compounds in samples from the asteroid Ryugu brought to Earth that might serve as building blocks if the conditions for life development arise. The so-called. "prebiotic organic."
According to the website Space.com, living organisms produce amino acids necessary to regulate chemical reactions and make complex structures such as hair and muscles, and these molecules can also be formed in the depths of asteroids. The scientists' discovery adds credibility to the idea that Earth's basic ingredients might be brought to Earth via space.
The presence of prebiotic molecules in asteroid samples from the surface, despite the unfavorable space environment, suggests that the uppermost layer of the asteroid is capable of retaining organic matter throughout the solar system, for example, after leaving the asteroid itself for other reasons.
In Ryugu, organic prebiotic substances include carbon in combination with hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and other chemical elements. On Earth, these compounds are the basic building blocks for all forms of life; however, compounds may arise from other chemical processes that are not related to living organisms.
According to a NASA official, the Ryugu findings are broadly consistent with what can be found in other carbonaceous meteorites. Scientists believe these components are present on Ryugu, but in quantities that are too small to record their presence with instruments.
Samples from Ryugu will be compared with ones from Bennu collected in 2020, when NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission will finish with a return to Earth with materials in 2023. More samples are expected to be brought back from Bennu, providing another opportunity to discover trace building blocks for life in carbon-rich asteroids.
The findings of a research dedicated to Ryugu were published in the journal Science on February 24.
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