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Scientists discovered the presence of water and organic matter in a tiny sample from the asteroid 'Itowaka,' which was visited by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (Jaxa) first Hayabusa mission in 2010.

The findings constitute the first time such materials were found on an asteroid, and set the groundwork for future research into asteroid samples.

As The Independent points out, researchers from Royal Holloway, University of London suggest the asteroid may have been evolving for billions of years by picking up materials as it traveled through space.

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The study also showed that the most common type of asteroid to come to Earth, S-type asteroids, can contain the raw components essential to life.

The scientific community had previously focused on carbon-rich C-type asteroids as a potential source for life on Earth.