University of Central Florida via EurekAlert ! - 28 April 2010
Scientists finds evidence of water ice on asteroid's surfaceAn asteroid may have hit Earth and brought our planet its water.
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.
University of Tennessee at Knoxville via EurekAlert ! - 28 April 2010
Asteroids, once thought as dry and lifeless, may be home to water and organic materials, also known as the building blocks of life.
Asteroids may not be the dark, dry, lifeless chunks of rock scientists have long thought.
Josh Emery, research assistant professor with the earth and planetary sciences department at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has found evidence of water ice and organic material on the asteroid 24 Themis. This evidence supports the idea that asteroids could be responsible for bringing water and organic material to Earth.
The findings are detailed in the April 29 issue of the journal Nature.
This image shows the Themis Main Belt which sits between Mars and Jupiter.
Asteroid 24 Themis, one of the largest Main Belt asteroids, was examined by
University of Tennessee scientist, Josh Emery, who found water ice and organic
material on the asteroid's surface. His findings were published in the April 2010
issue of Nature. (Josh Emery/University of Tennessee, Knoxville)
Scientists Say Ice Lurks In Asteroid's Cold Heart
NASA JPL 210-142 - 28 April 2010
Asteroid ice hints at rocky start to life on EarthScientists using a NASA funded telescope have detected water-ice and carbon-based organic compounds on the surface of an asteroid. The cold hard facts of the discovery of the frosty mixture on one of the asteroid belt's largest occupants, suggests that some asteroids, along with their celestial brethren, comets, were the water carriers for a primordial Earth. The research is published in today's issue of the journal Nature.
Nature News - 28 April 2010
Ice on asteroid 24 ThemisCool discovery suggests asteroids brought water and organic material.
A slushy cocktail of water-ice and organic materials has been directly detected on the surface of an asteroid for the first time. The finding strengthens the theory that asteroids delivered the ingredients for Earth's oceans and life, and could make astronomers rethink conventional models for how the Solar System evolved.
It has long been thought that asteroids, which lie in a belt between Mars and Jupiter, are rocky bodies that sit too close to the Sun to retain ice. By contrast, comets, which form further out beyond Neptune, are ice-rich bodies that develop distinctive tails of vaporized gas and dust when they approach the Sun. However, this distinction was blurred in 2006 by the discovery of small objects with comet-like tails in the asteroid belt ...
Nature 464, Editor's Summary (29 April 2010)
Asteroids: A frosty findingTwo groups, both using the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) on Mauna Kea in Hawaii but independently, have obtained infrared spectra of the main-belt asteroid 24 Themis consistent with the widespread presence of a frosty coating containing water ice and organics. Although the presence of water on the surface of some asteroids had been inferred from the comet-like activity of several small asteroids, these are the first actual measurements of water and organics in the asteroid belt. The presence of surface ice is particularly surprising because of the relatively short lifetime that exposed ice has at this distance from the Sun — between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
- Nature 464, 1286-1287 (29 April 2010) | doi: 10.1038/4641286a
1Water ice and organics on the surface of the asteroid 24 ThemisThe asteroid belt is classically considered the domain of rocky bodies, being too close to the Sun for ice to survive. Or so we thought — not only is ice present, but at least one asteroid is covered in it.
From high atop the summit of Mauna Kea, where, fittingly, snow often falls in the otherwise tropical Hawaiian islands, two teams, Rivkin and Emery2 and Campins et al.1, have found evidence of ice in a similarly unexpected place: the main asteroid belt, which lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
- Nature 464, 1320-1321 (29 April 2010) | doi: 10.1038/nature09029
- Nature 464, 1322-1323 (29 April 2010) | doi: 10.1038/nature09028