Scientists have found alien water for the first time in a meteorite that crashed into the UK in 2021. Here’s everything you need to know.
Scientists and researchers are trying to find every bit of evidence that could shed some light on the existence of life beyond Earth. Water is said to be one of the most prominent pieces of evidence pointing to signs of life. Last year in February a meteorite crashed and landed in a driveway in the UK city of Gloucestershire, and now scientists have found extraterrestrial water in the meteorite, according to a latest report. This is a historic event as it happened for the first time ever. The water found in the meteorite is believed to have some answers about where the water in Earth’s oceans came from.
Ashley King, a researcher in the Natural History Museum’s planetary materials group, has said that about 12 percent of the sample was made up of water and that it is also the least contaminated specimen collected to date, according to a report in The Independent. He added that the composition of the water on the meteorite is “very, very similar” to the composition of the water on Earth.
According to the report, the researcher told British Science Festival: “It’s really good evidence that asteroids and bodies like Winchcombe have made a very significant contribution to Earth’s oceans.”
He also confirmed that since the 0.5kg meteorite was recovered within 12 hours of its crash, it was not contaminated by water and minerals present on Earth. Meanwhile, according to another report from Sky News, King said, “One of the big questions we have in planetary science is where did the water on Earth come from? And one of the obvious places is either by comets carrying charges. and have charges of ice in them, or asteroids. There’s always a debate – were comets the main source, were asteroids the main source?’
However, he also explained that data from missions to comets suggests they don’t fit well with Earth’s waters. “The composition of the water in Winchcombe is much more consistent, so that would mean that asteroids — carbonaceous asteroids — were probably the main source of water for the inner solar system, for the Earth,” he said.
The meteorite that crashed into the UK in 2021 came from an asteroid somewhere near Jupiter and was formed about 4.6 billion years ago. Also, the meteorite’s journey to Earth took about 300,000 years, King informed.
Do you know?
A meteorite is a solid piece of debris from an object, such as an asteroid, comet, meteoroid, that survives a journey 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, with the aim of observing meteors in the sky brighter than Venus, called fireballs.
The Canadian CMOR (Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar) can detect meteoroids about 0.04 inches (1 millimeter wide) across and can detect the speed, direction and location of these small objects. Canada’s Southern Ontario Meteor Network also has cameras similar to NASA’s.