Water, an extraterrestrial origin?

Water, an extraterrestrial origin?


Analysis of the composition of material samples brought back from the asteroid Ryugu by a Japanese space mission accredits the theory of an extraterrestrial origin of water, according to a study published Monday in the journal scientific Nature Astronomy. 

C-type asteroids like Ryugu, “rich in volatile substances (capable of easily passing from the solid state to the gaseous state, editor’s note) and organic (or carbonaceous, editor's note), could have been one of the main sources of water on Earth”, according to this study which involved Japanese and foreign researchers.

“The contribution to the Earth of volatile substances, i.e. organic matter and water, is still the subject of an important debate”, recalls the study. 

< p>But the organic substances identified on Ryugu “probably represent an important source of volatile substances”, in addition to other potential sources such as solar winds, according to the same researchers.

The particles brought back from Ryugu “are undoubtedly among the least contaminated solar system materials available for laboratory study, and ongoing research on these valuable samples will certainly expand our understanding of early solar system processes.” they still estimated.

Discovered in 1999, Ryugu (“Dragon Palace” in Japanese) is located more than 300 million kilometers from our planet and it is less than 900 meters in diameter. < /p>

Scientists believe that some of the material in this asteroid was created about five million years after the birth of our solar system and was not heated above 100 degrees Celsius.

In 2019, the Japanese probe Hayabusa-2 managed to collect 5.4 grams of rock and black dust from Ryugu, and a capsule containing this exceptional cargo had returned to Earth at the end of 2020, with the promise to deliver new indices on gold origin of life on Earth. 

In June, another Japanese scientific study had thus revealed the presence in these samples of amino acids, molecules at the base of life, because capable of forming proteins by combining with each other.