Life on Earth did not spontaneously arise. While the planet supplied the necessary circumstances for life, the basic components for life originated from outer space. Examination of materials from the asteroid Rygyu has established the extraterrestrial origin of life on Earth.
In 2019, scientists identified uracil and niacin in rocks retrieved from two places on Ryugu by the Hayabusa2 mission of the Japanese Space Agency. Uracil is one of the chemical components of RNA, a molecule that carries instructions for the construction and operation of living creatures. Niacin, commonly known as Vitamin B3 and nicotinic acid, is essential to their metabolism.
Ryugu samples are the oldest lab-studied material.
Scientists have discovered that the samples are the most primordial material ever analyzed in a laboratory and date back to roughly 4.5 billion years before the formation of the planets. The isotopic configuration suggested that the asteroid Ryugu originated furthest from the Sun, near to Neptune’s orbit.
“Our most important discovery is that uracil and niacin, both of which have biological relevance, are present in alien settings and may have been delivered to the early Earth by asteroids and meteorites. We believe they had a role in prebiotic development on Earth and perhaps in the creation of the first life “said Japanese astrophysicist Yasuhiro Oba of Hokkaido University.
Researchers isolated Ryug uracil, niacin, and other chemical substances.
Without uracil, RNA, or ribonucleic acid, would not be conceivable. RNA, a substance found in all living cells, is important for the coding, regulation, and activation of genes. RNA shares structural similarities with DNA, the molecule that carries the genetic code of an organism.
Niacin is essential to metabolism and aids in the production of the “energy” that fuels living creatures.
RNA uses uracil.
The researchers recovered uracil, niacin, and many other chemical components from Ryugu samples by soaking them in hot water and then conducting liquid chromatography and high-resolution mass spectrometry analysis.
After Earth’s formation some 4.5 billion years ago, scientists have long pondered the conditions essential for the emergence of life. The latest discoveries are consistent with the theory that comets, asteroids, and meteorites that pounded early Earth introduced chemicals that helped pave the path for the earliest bacteria.
Asteroids, which circle the sun but are far smaller than planets, are among the earliest objects in the solar system and may thus provide insight into the formation and evolution of Earth. The Hayabusa2 mission was undertaken with the express objective of determining the origins of the planets in the solar system.