The samples were delivered to Earth by the Hajabusa 2 spacecraft, which has already been sent to Ryug by the Japanese space agency JAXA.
Hajabusa 2 set out on a journey to the planet, which is about 300 million kilometers from Earth and is estimated to be 4.6 billion years old, in December 2014.
She reached her destination in mid-2018 – after a three-and-a-half-year space flight. In the autumn of the same year, it began to fulfill the intention of the entire project, namely to look for traces of the origin of the solar system.
The spacecraft returned to Earth in 2020 with more than 5.4 grams of Ryugu asteroid subsurface. These were samples that were not exposed to sunlight or cosmic rays.
One of the oldest studied materials
Already the initial study of the samples indicated the presence of water and organic matter. A detailed study of the material was launched by JAXA and other research institutions, including the University of Tokyo and Hiroshima, last year.
The first analyzes by an international team of scientists last year showed that this is probably one of the oldest materials analyzed in scientific laboratories.
It is not known how the amino acids reached Earth itself. According to one theory, this could have happened when a meteorite or comet struck.
After all, as we reported, for example, in March 2021, they found a meteorite in Britain shortly after the fall, which may have contained the ingredients of life.
It was a so-called carbonaceous chondrite, which means that it is a type of stone meteorite (they are also iron), specifically one of the earliest materials in our solar system. The material is generally known to contain organic material and amino acids, which are important components of life.