NASA: Asteroids Might Have Brought Water to Earth

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asteroidCOMPUTER WORLD- The discovery of water ice on the surface of an asteroid has NASA scientists conjecturing that asteroids and comets could have delivered enough water to a primordial Earth to fill its oceans.

A study of data compiled during six years of observing the asteroid 24 Themis through a NASA-funded telescope found evidence of water ice and carbon-based organic materials. The asteroid orbits the sun at a distance of 297 million miles, or between the planets of Jupiter and Mars.

The telescope, housed at NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii, has constantly focused on 24 Themis asteroid.

“For a long time the thinking was that you couldn’t find a cup’s worth of water in the entire asteroid belt,” said Don Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office, in a statement yesterday. “Today we know you not only could quench your thirst, but you just might be able to fill up every pool on Earth — and then some.”

According to NASA, this new research could help rewrite the book not just on the nature of asteroids but on how the solar system was formed as well.

Continue reading about NASA: Asteroids Might Have Brought Water to Earth.

© Computerworld, 2010 

Photo by flickr user andrewsrj

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