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Organic matter and water discovered for the first time on asteroid

Date: 06 March 2021 Tags: Space


Scientists have identified specimens of water and organic matter on surface of an asteroid known as ‘Itokava’. 



The samples from the asteroid were collected by JAXA during the first Hayabusa mission in 2010.



  • The new results are important in the scientific study about the history of the Earth, as scientists focused only on the carbon-rich C-type asteroids. 

  • It may be true that water and carbon originated on asteroids itself and may have brought to Earth by the asteroid.

  • Japanese satellite AKARI, in detail observed asteroid Itokawa with its Infrared Camera. But the discovery was made when tiny grains collected during Hayabusa mission was analysed.

  • The scientists said that the asteroid was found evolving continuously over the years that may have lead to formation of water and organic matter.

  • The grain of sample is called as ‘Amazon’ and it was said to preserve water and organic compounds within itself.

  • It revealed details about the evolutionary phases and paths that took place on the asteroid, which was similar to Earth.

  • The discovery is expected to bring successful results for studying the samples of other asteroids such as the ones brought by Jaxa’s Hayabusa2 mission that contains regolith from asteroid Ryugu. 


Hayabusa mission

The Hayabusa mission was a robotic spacecraft constructed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to bring samples from a near-Earth asteroid named Itokawa, for detailed study.