A spectacular treasure has been found in samples from the extrasolar Dragon Palace that Japan’s Hayabusa-2 mission brought back to Earth.
According to an article published in the journal Science on September 22, that treasure is a drop of water extracted from the analysis of 5.4 g of precious rock dust that the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft of the Research and Development Agency Japan Aerospace Industries (JAXA) brought back from asteroid Ryugu 300 million km from Earth.
Ryugu, named after the Dragon Palace in Japanese legend, is an asteroid that formed before our Earth – about 2 million years after the Solar System began to form. This is the result that the team derived from numerical simulations, based on the physical and mineralogical properties of the samples.
Asteroids of the same type as Ryugu, long thought to have formed from outside the Solar System, were accidentally attracted to our parent star and brought with them “seeds of life” consisting of water and organic matter. to planets like Earth, Mars…
Young planets will receive the most primitive materials from a series of asteroid and comet impacts, from which they develop and evolve oceans and living things, including us.
Specimens from Ryugu have been shared with groups of scientists around the world to maximize the chances of discovery.
The group led by Professor Tomoki Nakamura from Tokohu University – Japan, the lead author of the new study is the largest group with about 150 members, of which 30 are from other countries such as the US, UK, France. , Italy and China.
Professor Nakamura asserts the value of this drop of water is extremely large: “Many researchers believe that water was brought from space, but we have detected water in Ryugu, a near-Earth asteroid, first”.
This is the only sample of liquid water at room temperature discovered in the world to date. It’s even a drop of carbonated water containing salt and organic matter!
According to Nippon, to find this cosmic treasure, Professor Nakamura and his colleagues analyzed a total of 17 dust particles from Ryugu using a variety of modern equipment including the SPring-8 large synchrotron radiation facility located in Sayo, Hyogo Prefecture, western Japan.
They examined these dust particles in detail, ranging from 1 to 8 mm in diameter, carefully considering their structure, mineral composition, hardness, and many other properties.
This drop of water also contains carbon dioxide found in pyrrhotite crystals, confirming that Ryugu’s parent asteroid was formed outside the Solar System.
The authors will continue to delve deeper into this treasure and hope to bring more clear data about this seed of life – believed to be the same type as what the ancient Earth received.