Fire Earth

Earth is fighting to stay alive. Mass dieoffs, triggered by anthropogenic assault and fallout of planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin anytime!

Posts Tagged ‘sci-tech’

Earth’s Water Delivered by Asteroids?

Posted by feww on April 29, 2010

Asteroid the Water Bearer

This is the sort of stuff that myths are made from. But it’s perfectly feasible. In fact it’s more probable than not.

IF true, it renders the water on Earth even more precious, so our thanks to everyone who is looking after our oceans, keeping then in such pristine condition! Fire-Earth

The following is a public information bulletin released by University of Central Florida

Asteroid ice may be ‘living fossil’ with clues to oceans’ origins

An asteroid may have hit Earth and brought our planet its water

Artist’s conception of asteroid 24 Themis and two small fragments of this dynamic family, which resulted from a large impact more than one billion years ago. One of the small fragments is inert (as most asteroids are), and the other has a comet-like tail, produced by the sublimation of water ice from its surface. Credit: Gabriel Pérez/Servicio MultiMedia, Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, Tenerife, Spain. Click image to enlarge.

The first-ever discovery of ice and organic molecules on an asteroid may hold clues to the origins of Earth’s oceans and life 4 billion years ago.

University of Central Florida researchers detected a thin layer of water ice and organic molecules on the surface of 24 Themis, the largest in a family of asteroids orbiting between Mars and Jupiter.

Their unexpected findings will be published Thursday, April 29 in Nature, which will feature two complementary articles by the UCF-led team and by another team of planetary scientists.

“What we’ve found suggests that an asteroid like this one may have hit Earth and brought our planet its water,” said UCF Physics Professor Humberto Campins, the study’s lead author.

Some theories suggest asteroids brought water to Earth after the planet formed dry. Scientists say the salts and water that have been found in some meteorites support this view.

Using NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility in Hawaii, Campins and his team of researchers measured the intensity of the reflected sunlight as 24 Themis rotated. Differences in intensity at different wavelengths helped researchers determine the makeup of the asteroid’s surface.

Researchers were surprised to find ice and carbon-based compounds evenly distributed on 24 Themis. More specifically, the discovery of ice is unexpected because surface ice should be short lived on asteroids, which are expected to be too warm for ice to survive for long.

The distance between this asteroid and the sun is about three times greater than between Earth and the sun.

Researchers will continue testing various hypotheses to explain the presence of ice. Perhaps most promising is the possibility that 24 Themis might have preserved the ice in its subsoil, just below the surface, as a kind of “living fossil” or remnant of an early solar system that was generally considered to have disappeared long ago.

Contact: Chad Binette
cbinette@mail.ucf.edu
University of Central Florida

‘Scientists Say Ice Lurks In Asteroid’s Cold Heart’


In this artist’s concept, a narrow asteroid belt filled with rocks and dusty debris orbits a star similar to our own sun. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Scientists say they have detected water-ice and carbon-based organic compounds on the surface of an 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 at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “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.”

“The study’s findings are particularly surprising because it was believed that Themis, orbiting the sun at “only” 479 million kilometers (297 million miles), was too close to the solar system’s fiery heat source to carry water ice left over from the solar system’s origin 4.6 billion years ago.” JPL said. More …

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