Remains of vitamin B3 and uracil, which are essential substances for human life, were found in an asteroid that was not yet in contact with Earth. Take samples from the asteroid Ryugu This was possible after it was retrieved in 2018 by the Japan Space Agency’s (JAXA) Hayabusa2 spacecraft. They were kept out of contact with Earth and the results of published assessments showed the presence of the material.
Vitamin B3 is an important factor for the metabolism of living organisms, while uracil is one of the units that make up RNA, the molecules that carry information for the construction and functioning of living organisms by enabling the production of new proteins.
The discovery of Japanese scientists was published on Tuesday (21) by the journal Nature Communications and is the first time that a nuclear base such as uracil has been detected in a sample taken from an asteroid.
The appearance of this material on an asteroid has again sparked discussions about theories that imply the emergence of life on Earth some 3.8 billion years ago (according to the most accepted theories).
“The current study strongly indicates that these bioactive molecules formed commonly on carbonaceous asteroids, including Ryugu, and reached early Earth.”the authors explain.
project coordinator , Yasuhiro Ohbaexplained it “The Hayabusa2 spacecraft took two samples directly from the asteroid Ryugu and delivered them to Earth in sealed capsules, and contamination can be ruled out.. Previously, nucleobases and vitamins had already been found in other carbon-rich meteorites, but because there was a risk of exposure to the terrestrial environment, the samples left doubts.
However, the researchers caution that this does not mean that life was brought to Earth directly from space, but rather that the presence of these materials may have played a role in the emergence of life on the planet.
Other organic molecules such as a selection of amino acids, amines and carboxylic acids were also found in the same sample. The same researchers have already found these types of particles in other meteorites that have fallen to Earth, but these samples reinforce the theory of the origin of extraterrestrial life because they are a substance that has no contact with the planet.
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