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Asteroid pebbles contain important building blocks

The Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa-2 landed on the asteroid Ryugu in 2019, after five years of travel and several revolutions in orbit around the sun. It took samples of pebbles on its surface and returned them in a capsule to the ground. The capsule landed the following year and were the first samples of rocks from the surface of an asteroid that humans have been able to examine.

All in all, it’s a few grams of grit. More than 20 different types of amino acids are now found there, according to Japanese reports Kyodo News Agency.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are essential to creating life. The hope is that these studies will provide new answers about exactly how life originated in the universe.

It is not known how the amino acids originated on Earth or got there, but the popular theory is that they came up with meteorites that crashed here.

Thirteen years ago, scientists found the amino acid glycine in samples collected by a US space probe from a passing comet.

In the so-called Murchison meteorite, a 100-kilogram boulder that smashed into parts of Australia in 1969, scientists have found, among other things, amino acids with a composition that shows they did not originate on Earth but were likely united in interstellar conditions. outer space.

Asteroid Ryugu, in an image taken by the Hayabusa-2 probe in November 2019. Photography archive. Photo: Jaxa via AP/TT

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