As scientists have said several times, discovering what lies beyond us can give pertinent indications of what brought Earth to be as we know it. In addition, exploring space can allow you to discover life on other planets or objects.
For the first time and shockingly, scientists found water and organic material on an asteroid.
Itokawa: Water and organic matter belong to the asteroid
A group of scientists found water and organic matter on the surface of an asteroid sample taken from the solar system. Although the sample is the size of a grain, this was the first time that such material was found on an asteroid.
The asteroid in question is Itokawa, which was visited by the Hayabusa mission of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in 2010.
The Hayabusa mission was a robotic spacecraft developed by JAXA to return samples of a small asteroid close to Earth called Itokawa, for detailed analysis in laboratories on Earth.
Clarified Queenie Chen of the Department of Earth Sciences at Royal Holloway.
Surprisingly, the sample of water and organic matter does not come from an alien world. On the contrary, scientists claim that it belongs to the asteroid itself.
Sample may trigger a new perception of Earth's history
As far as is known, the asteroid has withstood extreme heat, dehydration and fragmentation. However, he managed to compose himself through the materials he collected throughout his journey. In fact, scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London suggest that the asteroid has been evolving for billions of years. Thus, it was integrating the liquid and organic material in the same way as the Earth.
In addition, the study also shows that type S asteroids, which are the most common ones that reach Earth, may contain the components of raw life. After all, this could rewrite the knowledge of the history of life on Earth, as it once focused on carbon-rich type C asteroids.
After being studied in great detail by an international team, the grain-sized sample preserved both primitive (unheated) and processed (heated) organic matter. This in a space of 10 microns (one thousandth of a centimeter) of distance.
The organic matter that has been heated indicates that the asteroid has been heated to more than 600 degrees Celsius in the past. The presence of unheated organic matter very close means that the drop of primitive organic matter reached the surface of the Itokawa after the asteroid had cooled.
Scientists hope that the analysis of this sample will serve as a basis for other samples to be analyzed in more detail.
These discoveries are really exciting, as they reveal complex details of an asteroid's history and how its evolutionary path is so similar to that of Earth.