Origin of Water on Earth: Mystery Solved?
16:19 GMT 05.12.2021 (Updated: 19:33 GMT 03.11.2022)
© Harrison Schmitt/Christie'sThe "Blue Marble," the first fully illuminated photo of Earth taken by a human in 1972.
© Harrison Schmitt/Christie's
With oceans covering more than 70 percent of Earth’s surface, researchers have repeatedly scratched their heads trying to solve a mystery regarding the source of water on our planet.
The Sun can now be seen as a major source of water on Earth, a new study has revealed.
The study was conducted by a University of Glasgow-led international team of researchers, who suggested that solar radiation might have created water on the surface of dust grains carried on asteroids that smashed in to our planet billions of years ago.
Phil Bland, a professor at Curtin University and one of the scientists involved in the study, referred to an existing theory that “water was carried to Earth in the final stages of its formation on C-type asteroids”.
He explained in a statement that previous testing of “the isotopic ‘fingerprint’ of these asteroids found they, on average, didn’t match with the water found on Earth meaning there was at least one other unaccounted for source”.
The professor added that their latest research “suggests the solar wind created water on the surface of tiny dust grains and this isotopically lighter water likely provided the remainder of the Earth’s water”.
“This new solar wind theory is based on meticulous atom-by-atom analysis of miniscule fragments of an S-type near-Earth asteroid known as Itokawa, samples of which were collected by the Japanese space probe Hayabusa and returned to Earth in 2010”, Bland said.
The scientists believe that that their new theory pertaining to the origin of Earth’s water may help astronauts to process fresh supplies of water “straight from the dust on a planet’s surface”, including that of the Moon.