The astronomical system could soon have a perfect replica of the birth of life on Earth

In 2014, The New York Times’ Matthew Rosenberg said that the composition of the asteroid discovered by the team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory was such that a hypothesis that most scientists find inconceivable…

The astronomical system could soon have a perfect replica of the birth of life on Earth

In 2014, The New York Times’ Matthew Rosenberg said that the composition of the asteroid discovered by the team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory was such that a hypothesis that most scientists find inconceivable – how the elements of life formed – could actually be comprehensible.

At first he wondered what he’d be able to work into his article – so he tweeted the finding, asking if any people could think of another explanation.

Now, in the weeks after landing on Ios, the mysterious Trojan asteroid once known as ‘Oumuamua, astronomers have watched with joy as the asteroid has come into contact with Earth. It is delivering sun-reflecting material to our planet in the form of smog, until it burns up in our atmosphere.

The evidence, of course, is in the general science, not the observations.

According to Dr. Amy Mainzer, the lead investigator on the NASA mission, Lucy, the probe is bringing in enough sunlight to produce what only flyovers in the past could have yielded. The reason is that the rock is travelling at over 200,000 mph.

Before a probe visits an asteroid like Lucy, NASA might deploy its biggest and fastest probe to grab samples of rock and ice from close to Jupiter’s orbit. Then, other explorers on board will collect the best material and deliver it back to Earth to be studied. Lucy could help us search for traces of life on any asteroids that pass through our solar system.

NASA has not decided what to do with the 800 kilograms (1,897 pounds) of Planetary Defense Coordination Office knowledge NASA has accumulated by watching asteroids go by, said Dr. Mainzer. The team was initially told to make sure that if the asteroid ever did pass the Moon, it wouldn’t make a small bump, and carry with it a very small amount of rock. It may still turn out to be there.

Dr. Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said that if and when the significance of Lucy becomes clear, the scientists should raise the possibility of sending such a probe out into space to make good on their possible knowledge.

“It is easier for us to get samples from stars or Kuiper Belt Objects,” he said. “If Lucy were our ‘comeuppance’ if we found life on a baby star-like object, we would want to do it.”

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