The building blocks of RNA have been found on an asteroid

Asteroid, Image: PAP/EPA/FPI/NASA

The chemical molecules that are the building blocks of RNA have been found on the asteroid Ryugu, which was studied by the Japanese probe Hayabusa2, scientists report in Nature Communications.

Uracil is a nitrogenous compound that is also present in RNA molecules. Its samples were identified on the asteroid Ryugu, which was studied by the Hayabusa 2 probe. Molecules niacin (also known as nicotinic acid or vitamin B3), which plays an important role in metabolic processes in living organisms, were also detected on Ryugu.

The research was conducted by an international team of scientists led by Prof. Yasuhiro Ohba of Hokkaido University (Japan).

It is worth noting Uracil molecules, as well as amino acids and sugars, were discovered before, for example, by the Murchinson meteorite, which fell in Australia in 1969.

Both recent research and past discoveries point to this The chemical building blocks of life may have appeared on Earth in meteorites.

As explained by prof. Both studies on meteorites that fell to Earth raise doubts about possible contamination of the Earth’s environment. In the case of the research conducted by the Hayabusa probe, there are no such doubts.

The Hayabusa probe took two samples directly from the asteroid Ryugu. Then they were delivered to Earth in sealed capsules.

a. They both mention it This year, a NASA probe will deliver samples from the asteroid Bennu to Earth. So it will be possible to conduct comparative research and consider the theory of the cosmic origin of particles that are the building blocks of terrestrial organisms.

Japan’s Hayabusa 2 mission was the follow-up to the previous successful Hayabusa (“Peregrine Falcon” Japanese) mission to the Itokawa asteroid. The first Hayabusa spacecraft was launched in May 2003 and the samples were delivered to Earth in June 2010.

Haybusa 2 was launched in December 2014. The probe landed on the asteroid in October 2018, and the probe briefly touched down on Ryugu in February 2019. Samples weighing 10 grams were delivered to Earth in December 2020.

more: www.nature.com (PAP)

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