In order to be able to collect samples from the asteroid Ryugu, Japanese experts used a special Hayabusa-2 probe. Samples will be delivered to our planet this year.
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Soon, scientists will be able to analyze soil samples. Experts are confident that they will be able to detect microbes on an asteroid.
Ian Whittaker, along with Gareth Dorian, who are involved in this study, talk about the fact that it is the asteroid Ryugu that can answer many questions.
An asteroid can become not only an important element in the search for life outside our planet, but will help scientists to study the theory of panspermia in more detail.
Panspermia is the hypothesis that life exists throughout the Universe, distributed by space meteoroids, asteroids, comets and also by spacecraft carrying unintended contamination by microorganisms. Distribution may have occurred spanning galaxies, and so may not be restricted to the limited scale of solar systems.
Panspermia hypotheses propose (for example) that microscopic life-forms that can survive the effects of space (such as extremophiles) can become trapped in debris ejected into space after collisions between planets and small Solar System bodies that harbor life.
Some organisms may travel dormant for an extended amount of time before colliding randomly with other planets.