Water may have been brought to Earth by asteroids from the outer edges of the solar system, scientists said after analyzing rare samples collected on a six-year Japanese space mission.
In a quest to shed light on the origins of life and the formation of the universe, researchers are scrutinizing material brought back to earth in 2020 from the asteroid Ryugu.
Studies on the material are beginning to be published, and in June, one group of researchers said they had found organic material which showed that some of the building blocks of life on Earth, amino acids, may have been formed in space.
In a new paper published in the journal Nature Astronomy, scientists said the Ryugu samples could give clues to the mystery of how oceans appeared on Earth billions of years ago.
"Volatile and organic-rich C-type asteroids may have been one of the main sources of Earth's water," said the study by scientists from Japan and other countries, published Monday.
The scientists hypothesized that such material probably has an "outer Solar System origin", but said it was "unlikely to be the only source of volatiles delivered to the early Earth.".