JAKARTA – A new study reveals that water on Earth may have come from the Sun. Scientists have long struggled to figure out where it all came from.
One of the factors that started this research because the Earth is covered by water with more than 70 percent of its surface consisting of oceans. This planet is much richer in water than any other planet in the Solar System.
According to scientists, it is based on the existing theory that water was brought to Earth in the late stages of its formation on type C asteroids. But previous testing of the isotope fingerprints of these type C asteroids found that they, on average, do not match the water found on Earth. That means there is one other source that has not been found.
“Our research shows that the solar wind creates water on the surface of these tiny dust grains and this isotopically lighter water may provide some of the remaining water on Earth,” said Phil Bland, one of the scientists involved in the study, and professor at Curtin University.
Reported from The Independent, Tuesday, November 30, it is known research entitled Solar Wind Contributions to the Earth’s Oceans this has been published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
“This new solar wind theory is based on atom-by-atom analysis of very small fragments of an S-type near-Earth asteroid, known as Itokawa. This is an asteroid sample collected by the Japanese space probe Hayabusa and returned to Earth in 2010.”
Bland explained, Curtin University’s world-class atomic probe tomography system allows scientists to see in great detail within the first 50 nanometers or so of the surface of the dust grain of the asteroid Itokawa.
“What we found contained enough water which if increased would amount to about 20 liters for every cubic meter of rock,” Bland said.
This research has not only proven useful in telling the story of the Earth, but also in helping humans leave it behind. In the future, it is likely that the same technique could be used in space missions.
“How astronauts will get enough water, without carrying supplies, is one of the obstacles to future space exploration,” said another scientist who also worked on the research, Luke Daly.
“Our research shows that the same space weathering processes that created the water on Itokawa likely occur on other resource-poor planets, meaning astronauts may be able to process fresh water supplies directly from dust on planetary surfaces, such as the Moon,” added Daly.