Ocean water could have come from comets: Research
The study strengthens the theory that majority of the Earth’s oceanic water has comes from the comets. The researchers studied the comet named Hartley -2 which comes from the distant region of our solar system and found that the water present on it has similar characteristics which our oceanic water have.
The team of the astronomers with the help of NASA’s Herschel Space Observatory, has drawn this conclusion. One of the researchers, Ted Bergin said that it is a big step in finding how Earth’s water came. Ted Bergin said, “Life would not exist on Earth without liquid water, and so the questions of how and when the oceans got here is a fundamental one, it’s a big puzzle and these new findings are an important piece.”
According to the earlier theories, initially Earth was hot and dry, so water was the essential thing to make life grow and the comets were the things which could have transported water here. The Herschel telescope peeped into the gaseous atmosphere of the comet and found the signature of the vaporized water.
The scientists were surprised to see that half of the water found in the Hartley 2 was ‘heavy water’. The scientists also came to know that one of the two atoms of hydrogen was replaced by the heavy variant known as deuterium. The isotopes found there were similar which is found on our planet.
Scientists believe that the Kuiper Belt is the region from where the water comes to our planet as it has many other comets which are similar in characteristics like Hartley 2. The co-author of the study Geoffrey Blake said that there are plenty of things still to be known as we have very little knowledge about the isotopes of the early solar system.
The co-author of the study, Geoffrey Blake said, “Our study indicates that our understanding of the distribution of the lightest elements and their isotopes, as well as the dynamics of the early solar system, is incomplete. In the early solar system comets and asteroids must have been moving all over the place, and it appears that some of them crash landed on our planet and made our ocean.”