Two things that make a Devon glamping trip great; sunshine and water (for obvious reasons). But if we told you that a pioneering new study has found that the water on the Earth is older than the Sun would you think we were crazy?
This recent research has shown that water found on Earth predates the formation of the Sun.
The revolutionary research was carried out to discover the origin of the water that was deposited on our Earth as it formed.
To explain a little more about what was found the study showed that a substantial fraction of water found on Earth, as well as across our solar system, predates the formation of the Sun. By presenting proof that water is ‘inherited’ from the surrounding atmosphere when a star’s born, the team of international scientists consider that the other exoplanetary systems also had access to an wealth of water during their own formation.
Water is undoubtedly a key component for the development of life on Earth and the study has significant implications for the prospective notation of life elsewhere in the galaxy.
Professor Tim Harries, from the University of Exeter’s Physics and Astronomy department, was a member of the research team.
He said: “This is an important step forward in our quest to find out if life exists on other planets. We know that water is vital for the evolution of life on Earth, but it was possible that the Earth’s water originated in the specific conditions of the early solar system, and that those circumstances might occur infrequently elsewhere
“By identifying the ancient heritage of Earth’s water, we can see that the way in which our solar system was formed will not be unique, and that exoplanets will form in environments with abundant water. Consequently, it raises the possibility that some exoplanets could house the right conditions, and water resources, for life to evolve.”
In the past scientists have been able to realise the conditions present when stars are formed by looking at the configuration of asteroids and comets, which show which of gases, dust and, most vitally, ices were circling the star at its birth.
The team were also able to use ‘heavy water’ ices – those with an excess of water made with the element deuterium rather than hydrogen – to ascertain whether the water ices formed before, or during, the solar system’s formation.
By the use of sophisticated modelling methods, the team were able to demonstrate that the excess of heavy water was inherited from the pre-existing environment, suggesting that many exoplanets will contain water, the key liquid essential for life.