Scientists have long thought that most of the earth’s water came from a meteorite bombardment in the early days of our solar system.
Researchers at Macquarie University have now found evidence that the asteroids these meteorites came from were frozen balls of mud which still contained ice.
“Not only does it provide strong evidence to support the hypothesis that Earth’s water originated in asteroids, it also holds potential for mining asteroids for water in the future,” the university’s Professor Simon Turner said.
“This would be a huge advantage for space exploration, or, in a worst-case scenario, a means of supplementing earth’s supplies of fresh water,” he said.
Professor Turner and his team tested samples from meteorites that were observed falling to earth.
They used isotopes to determine when liquid had last flowed through the rocks.
“No-one had thought of analysing U-series isotopes in meteorites before, because it was assumed that they had not undergone chemical disturbance for billions of years”, said Professor Turner.
“So we might have been seen as crazy but the results proved otherwise.”
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