Astrophysicists around the world are eagerly awaiting soil samples from the asteroid Ruygu.
It is believed to answer the most important questions about the universe and our planets. In particular, the tiny particles of earth can solve the mystery of how water came to be on Earth.
“Asteroids are the building blocks left over from the formation of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago. This makes them so important to science. If you want to know the planets. What is originally made up, you have to study asteroids, ”said Martin Lee, professor of planetary science at the University of Glasgow.
Professor Lee and his colleagues were the first group of scientists in the world to be sampled in Ruygu.
It is still not clear exactly how many samples the Hayabusa2 spacecraft collected, but researchers are confident that with the help of an atomic probe they will be able to obtain the results. particles of material only a few millimeters in diameter. The device will help identify individual atoms in soil spots, and the tiny particles of earth can solve the mystery of how water appeared on Earth.
“We’re going to take a piece of earth and abrade its outer surface with a laser. In other words, we are going to explode its atoms one by one. Then each of these atoms will be measured. to determine the identity of this element and a particular isotope. We will also be able to accurately reconstruct the position of the atom in the sample, so we will get a hologram of the atomic structure, “Professor Lee revealed.
Everyone knows that water is a prerequisite for life. 70% of our planet is covered with water and 60% of the human body is also water, but how it existed on Earth remains a mystery to scientists, as the solar system Heavenly shape, planets too hot to support the ice.
According to one theory, water brought to our planet by icy asteroids and comets has had an impact on Earth for a long time.
An examination of comet 67P / Churyumov – Gerasimenko carried out between 2014 and 2016 showed that this object has water, but it is different from the one found on our planet because it contains deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen. This leads many astrophysicists to believe that water may have been on our planet since its inception.
These ancient comets may not be the only source of water elsewhere in the solar system, and many reservoirs have recently been created by the solar wind hitting the cottage. planet.
“The water created there may have a lower deuterium content and that would explain how our oceans contain water with a different isotopic symbol. And of course, study the rock atoms of Asteroid Ryugu, which has been crushed by the Wind Sun for billions of years, can also give me the answer.
Scientists say they expect Ruygu’s samples to solve other puzzles that have plagued astronomers for decades. One of them is what happens to space rocks as they are constantly bombarded by the solar wind. Unlike our planet, asteroids and other celestial bodies do not have magnetic fields and atmosphere.
Luke Daly, a member of the University of Glasgow research team, said: “These bombings could trigger the production of water on the asteroids. Basically, protons are hydrogen ions and can react with oxygen in rocks to create water molecules ”.
Additionally, researchers say the Hayabusa2 probe will release a capsule with soil samples in the coming days. If all goes well, this capsule will safely drop into Woomera’s test range in Australia on December 6.