Water on Earth may have originated in the 'building blocks of the planet', says study

A recent study published in the scientific journal Nature Astronomy suggests that Earth's water may have arisen from the building block space rocks that formed the planet.

According to the data, cosmic objects may have formed the Earth billions of years ago; After analyzing different meteorite samples, scientists found chemical reactions that only occur when water is present.

The researchers combined the meteorite data with a type of thermodynamic modeling to determine that the building blocks of the Solar System's inner planets may have formed with the presence of water from the beginning.

The illustration shows how space rocks form the building blocks of planets.The illustration shows how space rocks form the building blocks of planets.Source: NASA

The discovery could be very important for science, as it challenges current astrophysical models that theorize about the beginning of our stellar system. The researchers explain that The samples do not contain water, however, they were able to trace chemical reactions that are only possible with the primordial liquid.

The detection was only possible due to measuring the iron level of the meteorites compared to other 'ingredients' of the space rocks. In addition to water, they also detected the presence of oxygen.

“Iron meteorites have been somewhat neglected by the planetary formation community, but they constitute rich stores of information about the earliest period of the Solar System's history once we discover how to read the signals. The difference between what we measured in meteorites from the interior of the Solar System and what we expected implies an oxygen activity about 10,000 times greater”, said one of the scientists responsible for the study, Paul Asimow.

Water on Earth

The new discovery may contradict the current theory that water emerged during planetary evolutionsuggesting that the element was already present in the building blocks of planets from the beginning.

Therefore, the scientists in the study believe that water did not reach Earth during the planet's formation period — the history of the other rocky planets in the Solar System may also be similar.

Meteorite samples are the remains of the metallic cores of the first rocks of the Solar System's building blocks; By analyzing the chemical composition of these cosmic objects, it is possible to discover fundamental information about the environments in which planets form. Despite this, scientists still need to delve deeper into the study to confirm the data.

“However, the method only detects the water used in iron oxidation. It is not sensitive to the excess water that can form the ocean. Therefore, the conclusions of this study are consistent with Earth accretion models that require the late addition of even more water-rich material,” explains Asimow.

Did you like the content? So, always stay up to date with the latest studies on the formation of planet Earth, here at TecMundo and take the opportunity to find out why you shouldn't use magnets to look for meteorites.

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