According to new research, scientists hypothesized that water on Earth emerged thanks to comets that brought it here from deep space billions of years ago. Accordingly, without comets and the water they delivered on our planet, the life on Earth might not have been possible.
The scientists based their new theory on the discovery of Earth-like water traces on Comet Wirtanen which passed next to the Earth in December of 2018. The researchers used SOFIA, the world’s largest air observatory, run by NASA. More specifically, SOFIA (the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) is a Boeing 747 which received some modifications to carry a telescope of 2.7 meters in diameter.
Since SOFIA is observing the space from high altitudes, above the atmospheric water layers, the observatory could precisely estimate the amounts of water on Comet Wirtanen when it flew close to Earth in December of 2018. According to the measurements, Comet Wirtanen contains regular water as well as HDO, heavy water.
Comets Had An Essential Role In Bringing Water on Earth
Comet Wirtanen, as the new study concluded, seems to show a ratio of regular to heavy water similar to that found in the oceans here, on Earth. Even more, when the researchers compared the results of the new research with those of previous studies on comets, they found out that similar ratios are found on such space rocks regardless of their place of origin.
In short, as the scientists reported, it is possible that all comets in the Universe ratios of regular to heavy water similar to those found on the Earth’s oceans.
In conclusion, the new study revealed that comets possess Earth-like water and heavy water, as well, in ratios similar to those found in the oceans of our planet. If that’s the case, comets might have had an essential role in bringing water on Earth and, subsequently, in the emergence of life on Earth.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.