Scientists Find Evidence of Water on Asteroid

By |2023-03-05T14:05:52+00:00April 28th, 2010|Educational Activities, Geology, Main Page|0 Comments

Scientists find Evidence of Ice on Large Asteroid

Could life on Earth have been kick started thanks to the impact of asteroids and other celestial bodies that brought raw materials to encourage the right conditions for organisms to flourish?

This is the fascinating question that is being posed by scientists in a study published in the scientific journal “Nature”.  Ice has been detected on a large 200-kilometre-wide asteroid in an area of our solar system.  The asteroid lies between Mars and the gas giant Jupiter.


Analysis of the asteroid, known as 24 Themis shows evidence of organic matter as well as ice crystals.  Impacts from extra-terrestrial bodies such as asteroids and comets could have led to the deposit on Earth of the chemical ingredients required to start or even speed up the development of life forms on planet Earth.  The discovery of ice and carbon elements on this asteroid adds weight to the theory put forward by many astronomers that Earth was relatively arid in its early history and water and other organic compounds were seeded on the planet due to the impact of asteroids and other space debris.

Water from asteroids could have helped to create the right conditions for life on Earth to flourish.

Seeding the Planet

Planetary scientist Dr Josh Emery, of the University of Tennessee, (United States), one of the authors of the astronomical study commented:

“The organics we detected appear to be complex, long-chained molecules.  Raining down on a barren Earth in meteorites, these could have given a big kick-start to the development of life.”

To see models of prehistoric and long-extinct creatures available from Everything Dinosaur: Prehistoric Animal Models and Figures.

The scientists hope to continue their research.  They aim to find more asteroids with evidence of ice.