Earth and other planets around the sun came into existence around 4.5 billion years ago after the formation of the sun. scientists suggest that these planets form from a myriad of tiny planetesimals. The latest meteorite study now reveals that ancient space rocks already contain water.
Researchers recently tested samples from meteorites that they believed to be part of those ancient planetesimals. During the research, they discovered the fingerprints of chemical reactions known to take place in the presence of water. Even though no water could be seen in these samples today.
But scientists could still find evidence of water that they once accommodated. If the water particles remain in the presence of other elements, the water molecules’ oxygen atoms will move away and link up with those elements. For example, water and iron will join to become iron oxide.
This is the reason why the color of Mars’ surface is rust-red. However, astronomers discovered that iron oxide is no more present in the meteorites. However, when it disappeared, it would have taken a small part of the meteorites’ iron contact with it.
Hence, researchers now test for ancient water by calculating the iron level in a meteorite in comparison to other elements of ancient space rocks.
How Scientists Made The Recent Discovery of Ancient Space Rocks
During the research, the scientists hoped to discover enough iron as nickel and cobalt. However, they ended up finding a lot of missing iron. This implies that oxygen is present in the meteorite and water by extension. The team concluded that the primordial material that created the inner part of the solar system must likely contain water.
“The difference between what we measured in the inner solar system meteorites and what we expected implies an oxygen activity about 10,000 times higher,” said Paul Asimow, a geologist and geochemist at the California Institute of Technology, in a statement.
Researchers revealed that if water’s hydrogen and oxygen were present in ancient space rocks then it is a sign that other elements that serve as building blocks of life including carbon and nitrogen, vital for creating life may have been there from the onset. The scientists behind the study published their findings in a paper in the journal Nature Astronomy on Jan. 9.100 Best Science and Astronomy Books For Everyone