Scientists have found extra-terrestrial water for the first time in a meteorite that crashed in 2021 in the UK. Here is all you need to know.
Scientists and researchers are trying to find every bit of evidence that can throw some light on the existence of life outside Earth. Water is said to be one of the most prominent proofs that points towards signs of life. Last year in the month of February a meteorite crashed and landed into a driveway in Gloucestershire town in the United Kingdom and now scientists have found extra-terrestrial water in the meteorite, according to a latest report. This is a historic event as it has happened for the first time ever. The water found in the meteorite is believed to have some answers about where the water in the oceans on Earth came from.
Ashley King, a researcher in the planetary materials group at the Natural History Museum, has informed that around 12 percent of the sample was made up of water and it is also the least contaminated specimen to be collected to date, according to a report in The Independent. He further added that the composition of water found on the meteorite is ‘very, very similar’ to the composition of water on Earth.
According to the report, the researcher told British Science Festival, “It’s a really good piece of evidence that asteroids and bodies like Winchcombe made a very important contribution to the Earth’s oceans.”
He also confirmed that as the 0.5kg meteorite was retrieved within 12 hours of its crash hence it was not contaminated by water and minerals present on Earth. Meanwhile, according to another report by Sky News, King said, now “one of the big questions we have in planetary sciences is where did the water on Earth come from? And one of the obvious places is either through comets that have loads and loads of ice in them, or asteroids. There’s always a debate – were comets the main source, were asteroids the main source?”
However, he also went on to explain that data from missions to comets suggest that they are not a good match for the water on Earth. “The composition of the water in Winchcombe is a much better match, so that would imply that asteroids – carbonaceous asteroids – were probably the main source of water to the inner solar system, to the Earth,” he said.
The meteorite that crashed in the UK in 2021 came from an asteroid somewhere near Jupiter and was formed around 4.6 billion years ago. Also, the meteorite’s journey to earth took around 3,00,000 years, King informed.
Do you know?
A meteorite is a solid piece of debris from an object, like an asteroid, comet, meteoroid, that survives a trip through the atmosphere and hits the ground. Also, NASA has deployed top technology and created a network of 17 cameras called the NASA All Sky Fireball Network, aiming to observe meteors in the sky brighter than Venus, which are called fireballs.
Canada’s CMOR (Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar) can detect meteoroids about 0.04 inches (1 millimeter across), and can detect the speed, direction, and location of these small objects. Canada’s Southern Ontario Meteor Network also has cameras that are similar to NASA’s.