In a breakthrough discovery, scientists found out how asteroids can form water. Thanks to this asteroid study, scientists learned how future space colonists could survive on other planets. And that because the way water regenerates on massive space rocks can be replicated to other space bodies.
Asteroid study revealed how water regenerates
According to the paperwork issued in the journal Nature Astronomy, solar winds and impacting meteoroids need to combine at low temperatures on an asteroid surface to form water. More specifically, both electrons from solar winds and thermal shock of impacting meteorites are mandatory to keep water molecules on the surface of space rocks.
“This complex process to regenerate surface water molecules could also be a possible mechanism to replenish water supplies on other airless bodies, such as the moon. This research finding has potentially significant implications,” explained Dr. Katarina Miljkovic from Curtin University’s Space Science and Technology Center, and the leading author of the study.
The water in space is an essential element for the habitability of space bodies from the perspective of future space colonists. The outcomes of the new study represent a significant step towards a reliable space colony.
The scientists conducted their study on an Australian meteorite
The research focused on Australia’s Murchison meteorite. This space rock hit Earth about 50 years ago. Using it, the scientists simulated weather conditions of an asteroid. The researchers employed powerful lasers to replicate the impacting meteoroids and energized electrons to reproduce solar winds.
While monitoring the water molecules on the surface of the meteorite, the scientists noticed that, first, meteor impacts start the reaction. Next, solar winds hit the surface, triggering the bond between oxygen and hydrogen. Thus, they form water.
In conclusion, water on an asteroid regenerates when both solar winds and impacting meteoroids blast the surface of the space rock at low temperatures. And this process can be replicated on other space bodies, as well, something that shows us how future space colonists could survive on other planets.