Asteroids contain water essential for life on planets

Asteroids contain water essential for life on planets
Highlights

British astronomers say, water delivery via asteroids or comets is most likely taking place in many other planetary systems just as it happened on Earth. A team from University of Warwick has found fresh evidence that numerous planetary bodies, including asteroids and comets, contain large quantities of water.

London: British astronomers say, water delivery via asteroids or comets is most likely taking place in many other planetary systems just as it happened on Earth. A team from University of Warwick has found fresh evidence that numerous planetary bodies, including asteroids and comets, contain large quantities of water.


The discovery adds further support to the possibility that water can be delivered to Earth-like planets via such bodies to create a suitable environment for life. "We found that rather than being unique, water-rich asteroids similar to those found in our solar system appear to be frequent. Accordingly, many of the planets may have contained a volume of water, comparable to that contained in the Earth," said the lead researcher.


In observations obtained at the William Herschel Telescope in the Canary Islands, the astronomers detected a large quantity of hydrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere of a white dwarf star. The quantities found provide the evidence that a water-rich exo-asteroid was disrupted and eventually delivered the water it contained onto the star. The asteroid was comparable in size to Ceres - at 900 km across and the largest asteroid in our solar system. The amount of water found is equivalent to 30-35 per cent of the oceans on Earth.

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