Astronomers discover amino acids in asteroid samples during Hayabusa2 probe

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In another step towards knowing the full picture of the origin of life on Earth, astronomers have discovered amino acids in samples from asteroids.

Adding evidence to the idea that various amino acids exist on celestial objects outside of Earth, researchers from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft brought back more than 20 types of amino acids from the asteroid Ryugu.

The Hayabusa2 spacecraft, which was launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), aimed to advance asteroid exploration technology.

According to the Japanese Ministry of Education, the discovered amino acids are very important substances for living beings and could hold clues to understand the origins of life.

Living organisms use amino acids to make proteins, making them basic building blocks of life.

The asteroid Ryugu, located more than 300 million kilometers from Earth, contained material dating back to the creation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago.

Since it would not have survived the planet’s molten origin, such primordial material is not found on Earth.

Although scientists have not been able to rule out the possibility that these amino acids come from terrestrial sources, amino acids have been recovered from meteorites that have crashed on Earth.

Japan will collaborate with NASA’s OSIRIS-REx probe to study and compare samples from samples successfully recovered from asteroid Bennu.

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