If you are a fan of all things astronomy, you are going to love this story. Are you also curious about how life on Earth started? This asteroid may have the answers.
Origins of life on Earth
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, on Wednesday shared about its discovery of a 4.5-billion-year-old asteroid named Bennu that could explain the origins of life on Earth.
Bennu is a tiny asteroid that passes by our planet often. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft – or Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer – which was launched in 2016, managed to grab some samples of the rock and brought them back here on Earth.
As expected, NASA delivered its findings saying that the asteroid samples have evidences of high-carbon content and water, which could indicate that Earth’s building blocks may be found in the rock, the space agency said on its official website.
Science like never before
“The OSIRIS-REx sample is the biggest carbon-rich asteroid sample ever delivered to Earth and will help scientists investigate the origins of life on our own planet for generations to come,” Bill Nelson, NASA’s administrator, said.
Aside from paving the way to learn about the origins of life on Earth, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator at the University of Arizona, Tusco, Dante Lauretta, said that the rock could also help us get closer to understanding the mysteries of the universe.
Nelson, meanwhile, also said that the sample could also tell us what asteroids are threats to the planet.
“Almost everything we do at NASA seeks to answer questions about who we are and where we come from. NASA missions like OSIRIS-REx will improve our understanding of asteroids that could threaten Earth while giving us a glimpse into what lies beyond,” the NASA administrator said. “The sample has made it back to Earth, but there is still so much science to come – science like we’ve never seen before.”