In a breakthrough discovery, scientists have found water and organic matter on the surface of an asteroid. This is for the first time Organic matter, important for life on Earth has been found on an asteroid.
Researchers had collected the sample from asteroid ‘Itokawa’. The sample was collected by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (Jaxa) first Hayabusa mission in 2010.
The study was documented in the journal Scientific Reports. This suggests to researchers that it has been born with chemical development in billions of years.
This discovery can change the viewpoint on how life started on Earth
Considering that it has raw components essential to life can change our understanding of how life-forming conditions could arise. The team considers that organic material from the asteroid has evolved through extreme conditions.
Researchers suggest the asteroid may have been evolving for billions of years by picking up materials as the Earth does. So this discovery is crucial in scientific research about the history of the Earth. The most common type of Earth’s asteroids is S-type asteroids.
Until now, scientists focused only on the carbon-rich C-type asteroids for their research on organic material.
Earth scientist Queenie Chan from the Royal Holloway University of London, said, “These findings are really exciting as they reveal complex details of an asteroid’s history and how its evolution pathway is so similar to that of the prebiotic Earth,”
Dr. Chan added, “After being studied in great detail by an international team of researchers, our analysis of a single grain, nicknamed ‘Amazon’, has preserved both primitive (unheated) and processed (heated) organic matter within ten microns (a thousandth of a centimeter) of distance,”
“The organic matter that has been heated indicates that the asteroid had been heated to over 600 degrees celcius in the past. The presence of unheated organic matter very close to it, means that the in fall of primitive organics arrived on the surface of Itokawa after the asteroid had cooled down.”Researchers suggest the asteroid may have been evolving for billions of years by picking up materials as the Earth does. So this discovery is crucial in scientific research about the history of the Earth. The most common type of Earth’s asteroids is S-type asteroids.