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The water on Earth may have come from asteroids, according to a space mission: research

Water may have been transported to Earth by asteroids from the solar system’s outskirts, according to scientists who examined rare samples acquired on a six-year Japanese space mission.

Researchers are examining material brought back to Earth from the asteroid Ryugu in 2020 in order to offer light on the origins of life and the genesis of the universe.

The 5.4 grammes (0.2 ounces) of pebbles and dust were collected by Hayabusa-2, a Japanese space probe that landed on the celestial planet and fired a “impactor” into its surface.

Studies on the material are beginning to be published, and one group of researchers announced in June that they had discovered organic material indicating that some of the building blocks of life on Earth, amino acids, may have evolved in space.

According to a new research published in the journal Nature Astronomy, the Ryugu samples could provide answers to the enigma of how seas first evolved on Earth billions of years ago.

“Volatile and organic-rich C-type asteroids may have been one of the primary suppliers of Earth’s water,” according to a study released Monday by experts from Japan and other countries.

“The transport of volatiles (organics and water) to the Earth is still a topic of significant controversy,” it said.However, the organic compounds discovered “in Ryugu particles revealed in this work are likely to represent one key source of volatiles.”

The scientists speculated that such material was most likely from the “outer Solar System,” although it was “unlikely to be the only source of volatiles delivered to the early Earth.”

Hayabusa-2 was launched in 2014 on a journey to Ryugu, which is around 300 million kilometres away, and returned to Earth’s orbit two years ago to drop down a capsule with the sample.

The findings made possible by the expedition were lauded once more in the Nature Astronomy article.”Ryugu particles are without a doubt among the most uncontaminated Solar System materials available for laboratory study,” the paper concluded. “Ongoing investigations of these valuable samples will likely increase our understanding of early Solar System activities.”