When we are little we ask a lot of questions, and maybe one of them is about the deep Oceans and seas that we see. But when we grow older, we are so used to having water at our disposal that this question is not on our minds anymore. So we take water for granted when we drink it, bathe in it, use it in the kitchen, or swim in it. But going further, the ones that are still asking questions about the water are the scientists. Where does the water come from? Why does the Earth have water, and other planets don’t? Those are the questions that Science wants to answer.
Associate Professor Craig O’Neill, who is also the director of the Macquarie University’s Planetary Research Center, says that the question seems to have a simple answer, but the more they analyze it, the more complicated everything seems to be. The theory of the existence of water on Earth is known by years, and nothing could have changed that. But this week something unusual has happened, and everything could change from now on just because of a spacecraft that has made a discovery.
We know that 4.6 billion years ago the Solar System was born and alongside with it, the waters on Earth. After the formation of the planets, especially Earth and Mars, one of them (Earth) had begun to gather water. Through the smashing of comets (they contain frozen water) with Earth, they have filled the oceans with water. But, hydrogen is made of two types: hydrogen-1 and hydrogen-2 (this is heavier). The really interesting part is that our oceans contain the hydrogen-1 and the comets don’t have the same type of hydrogen. So the theory fails, and maybe the comets didn’t fill Earth with water.
The Spacecraft and Its Discovery
The story began in 2003 when Hayabusa was sent to collect data, and in 2010 the probe smashed into the Woomera desert. The spacecraft didn’t come alone; it had taken with itself a sample of rock from the asteroid Itokawa. After many years of studies and analyses, the scientists have found that the sample rocks contain water like our oceans.
Finally, if the rocks contain water trapped inside of them, then it’s clear that the first rocks that formed the Earth have been full of water. Earth was hot in that period, so the stones melted and became magma. After that, the water from magma evaporated, and the steam climbed to the sky- and that is the process of raining. If it rains, we have water. If it has rained long enough, then that’s how the oceans were filled.
Bo has over six years experience as a teacher, advocate and speaker. He has a B.S. from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. in Human rights from Harvard University Graduate School.