[NewsQuest = Gohebydd Gwyddoniaeth Kim Hyung-geun]Water is an essential element for the survival of living things in the global village. However, it is not clear how and why water originated on our planet, Earth.
Although water covers 71% of the Earth’s surface. The big blue earth is full of rivers, streams and seas. Scientists still disagree about where and how this water came from. Solving the mysteries of water is not an easy task because there are so many unknown variables in the formation of the Earth.
Many experts have previously argued that water most likely reached Earth from meteorites. However, the details were not known.
“The theory of water entering the solar system is wrong”
However, a team led by the University of Maryland analyzed molten meteorites floating in space since our solar system formed 4.5 billion years ago and found that these meteorites have a very low water content.
These findings give momentum to the possibility that meteorites are the main source of water on Earth. Therefore, it could have a major impact on efforts to find water and also life on other planets.
“We wanted to understand how our planet got its water,” said Maryland geologist Professor Megan Newcombe, who led the study.
“Because the origin of water is not entirely clear,” he said. “It is a challenge to have a surface ocean on a small planet relatively close to the sun.”
The research team analyzed seven meteorites, or achondrites, that fell from at least five bodies that collided with each other to form planets in the solar system and melted after impacting our planet billions of years later.
During the melting, these planets were heated by the decay of radioactive elements in the early history of the solar system and separated into layers comprising the crust, mantle and core.
These celestial bodies, which mean microscopic planets, are objects with a diameter of about 1 km made by combining dust and gas that form protoplanetary bodies.
It is estimated that these planets collided with each other through gravity and formed a large planet like Earth through growth.
Experts used an electron microscope to measure the levels of magnesium, iron, calcium and silicon in these objects. A secondary ion mass spectrometer was also used to measure the water content.
Some of the meteorite samples came from presumed warm and dry conditions in the solar system, while others came from colder and cooler regions of the solar system.
“An icy comet from outside the solar system flew in and collided?”… When they collide, the high temperature dries up the water
Dr Sune Nielsen, a geologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), a non-profit organization that co-participated in the study, said: “We know that many of the outer bodies of the solar system have diverged. And these outer bodies have diverged . ” It was tacitly assumed that these fields contained a lot of water.”
For example, there are claims that icy comets from outside the solar system flew in and collided, supplying more water to the earth.
“Our paper shows that this theory of water entering the outer solar system is certainly not true,” said Nielsen.
In fact, analysis has shown that this achondrite meteorite sample, regardless of its origin, contains less than one part two millionth of its total mass. This suggests that most of the water is lost due to heat and melting during planetary impacts.
But another type of meteorite, called “carbonaceous chondrites”, has been found to contain up to 20% water, making them the most likely source of water on Earth.
“This finding suggests that significant amounts of water could have been transported to Earth only through undissolved material,” the authors write.
Because of the vitally important relationship between water and life, these discoveries have important implications beyond just geology, especially for the ongoing search for extraterrestrial life.
“Water is the most important factor for life to thrive in, so as we looked into space and discovered exoplanets, we set out to find out which of them could be potential hosts for life. These outer solar systems To understand the solar system, you have to understand (inside) our solar system,” Newcomb concluded.
This study was published in the international journal ‘Nature’.