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Japan asteroid probe finds amino acids, filling in origin of life

Hayabusa2 brought back building blocks of proteins from time when Earth formed

The Hayabusa2 space probe hovers over an asteroid in this artist's rendering. (Image courtesy of ISAS/JAXA)   © Kyodo

TOKYO -- The discovery of amino acids in asteroid samples collected by Japan's Hayabusa2 space probe has brought scientists one step closer to knowing the full picture of the origin of life on Earth.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, which are essential to all life, along with water. But scientific opinion remains divided on whether those on ancient Earth formed here or came from outer space.

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