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Scientists have made new progress in field of space after discovering presence of water on two asteroids

Friday, 16/02/2024, 17:38 (GMT+7)

After years of searching for the presence of water in outer space, scientists have discovered it on two asteroids Iris and Massalia

Recently, a significant breakthrough in the field of science has once again expanded our understanding of how our planet came to be.

Scientists found water on two asteroids

The South West Research Institute (SwRI) has announced a groundbreaking discovery made with the help of the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA): water has been found on two asteroids.

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Water found on two asteroids surprised scientists. Image Credit: Getty

This revelation is particularly significant because these asteroids were previously believed to be dry silicate asteroids, devoid of any water molecules.

Asteroids are commonly referred to as remnants from the process of planetary formation, and their compositions can vary depending on where they formed in the solar nebula. 

The presence or absence of water on these asteroids is of great interest as it could provide insights into how water was delivered to Earth.

Water was found on Iris and Massalia asteroids

Dr. Anicia Arredondo, the primary author of a scientific paper in the Planetary Science Journal, has identified a distinct characteristic indicating the presence of molecular water on the asteroids Iris and Massalia.

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Two asteroids that appear to have water are Iris and Massalia. Image Credit: Getty

Inspired by the team that discovered molecular water on the sunlit surface of the Moon, Dr. Anicia Arredondo and her team decided to utilize SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) to search for the same spectral signature on other celestial bodies.

The discovery was made possible by utilizing SOFIA, which has proven instrumental in detecting molecular water on the moon and now on these asteroids. 

Previous studies had detected the presence of hydrogen on both the moon and asteroids, but differentiating between water and its chemical relative, hydroxyl had posed challenges. 

It is believed that a 12-ounce bottle of water hidden on the Moon's surface

However, it is now believed that there is approximately the equivalent of a 12-ounce bottle of water trapped in a cubic meter of lunar surface soil.

The abundance of water observed on these asteroids is consistent with that found on the sunlit surface of the Moon. 

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It is also believed that large amounts of water are hidden under the surface of the Moon. Image Credit: Getty

Water can be bound to minerals, adsorbed to silicate, or trapped or dissolved in silicate impact glass on asteroids. 

Understanding the distribution and origins of water in our solar system is crucial in unraveling how water may have been delivered to Earth.

This groundbreaking discovery not only helps us understand our own planet's history but also has implications beyond Earth.

It provides insights into the distribution of water in other solar systems and aids in identifying potential locations for life within our own solar system and beyond.

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This discovery marks an important milestone in science and provides new knowledge about how planets form. Image Credit: Getty

Researchers are now planning to utilize NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, known for its precise optics and superior signal-to-noise ratio, to analyze more asteroids. 

Initial measurements have already been conducted on two additional asteroids, and there are plans to investigate another 30 targets.