Asteroid Ryugu begins to reveal its secrets, thanks to samples brought back by the Hayabusa-2 mission

The first specimens taken from Ryugu, brought back to Earth in December 2020 by the Japanese probe Hayabusa-2, have begun to reveal their secrets: a structure near the source of the solar system, with a family already known. The presence of meteorites and amino acids, the building blocks needed for life.

Meteors are fragments of asteroids, but it is rare for a scientist to be able to analyze a sample directly. meteorites, called From this From the moment they fall to the ground, they can be contaminated and therefore less reliable to analyze.

Asteroids Ryugu, Whose samples were originally analyzed at a university in JapanHokkaido From June 2021 onwards, some of the articles published finally revealed some of its secrets. This is an article published in Science Journal on June 9, 2022, signed by 140 scientists.

Among these scientists, Loretta Piani, researcher in cosmochemistry Per Center for Petrographic and Geochemical Research (CRPG) From Nancy (CNRS / Lorraine University). He explains to us:This is the first article about the chemical properties of elements brought back from asteroids. Ryugu. Valuable specimens, because rare. It is also a technical achievement of the Japanese company Jaxa Which allows this analysis today.

The Japanese team at Jaxa Agency has developed a highly efficient vacuum storage and handling system. This makes it possible to analyze a perfectly preserved sample.

Lorette Piani, CRPG Cosmochemistry Researcher (CNRS / Lorraine University)

This is the whole point of this mission Hayabusa-2. “
The advantage of these specimens is that they were taken directly from Ryugu and kept in perfect condition until they came to earth and later. The Japanese team at Jaxa Agency has developed a highly efficient vacuum storage and handling system. This makes it possible to analyze a perfectly preserved sampleFor scientists across the planet, this is priceless.

It gives us a little more precise reference to what it was like at the beginning of the formation of the planets in our solar system, everywhere.The first description leads to a new question. Research teams from around the world can now Ask for access Sample to answer this question.

A. CRPG Nancy, for example, is already analyzing gas, but others may be more detailed Complete This study.

The idea of ​​the Hayabusa-2 mission is to see how the most primitive matter found in the solar system can be found, to understand the elements that could provide a favorable environment for the development of life on Earth.

Bernard Marty, CRPG Researcher (UMR CNRS – Lorraine University)

A. CRPG Nancy, the other team, consists of Bernard Marty and Evelyn, among others FuryHas worked with “unstable material”. Two scientific articles should be published.

The first is imminent and needs to bring some additional elements to its knowledge Ryugu. Bernard Marty explains to us:The idea of ​​the Hayabusa-2 mission is to see how the most primitive matter found in the solar system can be found, to understand the elements that could provide a favorable environment for the development of life on Earth. “Unstable material” is central to this search

The mission retrieves very primitive material and saves it from contact with the earth. Amino acids, which are building blocks, have been found by other research teams.
These amino acids and other organic matter are from asteroids RyuguCan give the source of the origin of life on earth“, Says another study, led by the universityOkayama (Western Japan).

The discovery of amino acids capable of forming proteins is significant because, unlike the Ryugu meteorite, it did not come into contact with the Earth’s biosphere.Therefore, “Their identification proves that at least some of these building blocks of life on Earth may have formed in the space environment.“, Adds the same study. Researchers say they have identified 23 people Guys 5.4 g of various amino acids collected from black rock and dust samples Ryugu By Japanese investigation Hayabusa-2.

A. CRPG Nancy, the research continues.

The two teams are collaborating with Japanese scientists. A “petrology” team with Loretta Water And a “restless” team.
Loretta WaterHis research on hydrogen, and especially its distribution in water and the solar system, has continued. Thanks to the chondrites, he envisioned being able to work on a map that would shed light on the distribution of water in the solar system.

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