The Washington PostThe Washington Post

There's a rock in space that may help us unravel how life started

By Kasha Patel

26 May 2023 · 6 min read

informed Summary

  1. Hayabusa2 mission retrieved five grams of material from a near-Earth asteroid named Ryugu in 2020

It sounds like science fiction: Scientists deploy a spacecraft to a speeding asteroid, scoop dirt from the space rock and drop the fragments back on Earth somewhere in the Australian outback - all in pursuit of learning how life was, and could be, formed.

That was the seven-year quest of Japan's Hayabusa2 mission, a spacecraft that collected five grams of material from a near-Earth asteroid named Ryugu, roughly meaning "dragon palace" in Japanese. In a Japanese folk tale, Ryugu refers to a magical underwater palace where a fisherman receives a mysterious box.

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