Friday, August 31, 2007

Where Did the Water On Earth Come From?

Most scientists would agree that water on Earth, so vital for the development of life, came from comets and asteroids, rife with ice, slamming into the planet as it formed. But where did the ice in those comets and asteroids come from?

One possibility is the water was formed in clouds of interstellar dust (that’s the stuff between solar systems). But new evidence from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, suggests water may be created within a solar system at its earliest stages,
reports the BBC.

The findings come from observations made of a young star system 1,000 light years away known as IRAS 4B. The system, reports the BBC, “is still growing inside a cool cocoon of gas and dust.” The “cocoon” is about 200 degrees below zero and as wide as the distance between Earth and Pluto.

Within the outer reaches of the cocoon, water seems to be forming as ice. As it forms, it’s being pulled toward the “embryonic star” at the center. As it approaches, the water is vaporized. So far, there’s enough water vapor to fill the oceans of earth five times over. Eventually, scientists believe, the vapor will condense into ice again, then create comets or join asteroids.

Eventually, the comets or asteroids may “crash down onto whatever planets they find, forming oceans that the future scientists of these worlds will someday be scratching their heads over,”
suggests TIME.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.