Organic molecules were discovered in samples taken from the asteroid Ryugu by the Japanese probe Hayabusa2.
Researchers Example of analysis of the asteroid Ryugu collected by the Japanese Space Agency’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft and discovered uracil, one of the information units that make up RNA, a molecule that contains instructions on how to build and function in living beings. In addition, they also detected in the same sample nicotinic acid, also known as niacin or vitamin B3, an important element for the metabolism of living organisms.
Some organic molecules in samples taken from Ryugu.
Some organic molecules in samples taken from Ryugu. (Photo: JAXA).
The findings of an international research team, led by Associate Professor Yasuhiro Oba of Hokkaido University, provide further evidence that important building blocks of life are created in space and can follow meteorites to ‘To the earth. They announced their findings on March 21 in the journal Natural communication.
Rуugu is a kilometer-wide, diamond-shaped carbon-rich asteroid. Hayabusa2 is the first mission to bring subsurface samples from an asteroid to Earth. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency mission collected a sample of the asteroid’s surface in February 2019, then fired a copper bullet at it, creating a 10-meter-wide impact crater. The sample was collected from this crater in July 2019. After that, the Hayabusa2 spacecraft returned to Earth and dropped samples in Australia in December 2020.
“Previously, scientists had discovered Nucleobases and vitamins in meteorites rich in carbon, but they are still subject to pollution when exposed to the terrestrial environment. Because the Hayabusa2 spacecraft collected two samples directly from the asteroid Ryugu and transported them to Earth in a sealed compartment, the risk of contamination was eliminated. »Oba said.
The researchers separated the molecules by soaking the Ryugu seeds in hot water, then analyzed them using liquid chromatography combined with high-resolution mass spectrometry. This way reveals existence of uracil and nicotinic acidas well as nitrogen-containing organic compounds.
“We found small amounts of uracil in the samples, between 6 and 32 parts per billion (ppb), while vitamin B3 was more abundant, between 49 and 99 ppb.”Oba said. “Other biological molecules were also present in the sample, including amino acids and carboxylic acids.”
The research team hypothesizes that the difference in density between two samples collected from different locations in Ryugu is likely due to exposure to the extreme environment of space. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission will bring samples from the asteroid Bennu back to Earth this year, and research comparing the composition of the two objects will provide more data on the origins of nuclear bases on early Earth.
Article source: VnExpress
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Organic molecules have been discovered in samples taken by the Japanese Hayabusa2 probe from the asteroid Ryugu.