The ‘building blocks of life’ recovered from asteroid Ryugu are older than the solar system itself

The asteroid Ryugu, which orbits the sun between Earth and Mars, contains many of the building blocks for life, a new analysis finds.

The study, published February 23 in the journal Science (opens in a new tab)one of the first glimpses of samples from Ryugu was returned by Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft in 2020. The mission is only the second time a spacecraft has successfully returned a sample from a spacecraft an asteroid; In 2010, the first Hayabusa mission brought back dust from the asteroid Itokawa, but that sample was only micrograms in size due to a failure of the collection system. Hayabusa2, for comparison, returned more than 0.17 oz (opens in a new tab) (5 grams) to Earth from the space rock officially known as 162173 Ryugu.

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