Rosetta’s data suggests that water came from asteroids, not comets!
Our pretty blue planet! We all admire this picture, and every now and then wonder what a marvel it is!
For years, scientists have wondered where we got our water from! Most common assumptions were comets and asteroids as Earth might have been really hot to hold any water during initial formation.
A new analysis of the water vapor on the comet 67 P from the Rosetta mission has suggested that we probably did not get our water from a comet!
As detailed in this Science publication, the Deuterium/ Hydrogen (D/H) ratio is three times more than that of the water in Earth. In essence, the hydrogen in the Comet’s water vapor is not the same as ours. Deuterium is an isotope of Hydrogen which occurs rarely on Earth with a proton and a neutron in the atom’s nucleus. The data was measured by a mass spectrometer, ROSINA and rules out the Jupiter family comet to be the source of Earth’s water.
Rosina’s Principal Investigator, Professor Kathrin Altwegg from the University of Bern in Switzerland said “It is the highest-ever measured ratio of heavy water relative to light water in the Solar System.
European scientists have already ruled out the Comets from Oort cloud, when one of their probes, Giotto flew past by Halley’s comet and found the D/H ratio to be twice as much as that of Earth.
So that leaves us just with Asteroids! Most measurements made on Meteorite that fell on Earth had a D/H ratio closer to what we have. Space research is getting more and more exciting with every passing day.
To read more, please click here.
New Horizons – Getting to Pluto’s doorstep!
After a grand voyage of three billion miles that took nine years, NASA’s spacecraft New Horizon has been woken up from its sleep! This is the first mission sent to Pluto, the farthest planet in our solar system (Wait, aren’t we still deciding if Pluto is a planet or not? Well, scientists have finally agreed to call little Pluto a dwarf planet!). This is the only mission that has traveled so far to reach its primary target!
The spacecraft is a mere 162 million miles from Pluto and more than 2.9 billion miles from home! The radio signals sent back to Earth takes around 4 hours and 26 minutes to reach ! Operators at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory have confirmed that New Horizon has set to active mode on Dec 6, 2014.
Now to the curious question, Why do we need this mission?
Because we really don’t know much about Pluto! All we know can be viewed in the image below! Wonder why, because Pluto is so small that we can hardly see it in detail even with advanced telescopes like Hubble!
Jan 15, 2015 is when the actual party begins! New Horizons will get close enough to take measurements using seven onboard instruments which include advanced imaging infrared and ultraviolet spectrometers, a compact multicolor camera, a high-resolution telescopic camera, two powerful particle spectrometers and a space-dust detector.
In addition to Pluto, New Horizons will also study Charon, the largest moon. Pluto and Charon form what is commonly referred to as binary planets and this will be our very first time to learn more about them!
To read more about this mission, click here.
And if you have 45 min to kill, watch this awesome documentary on why we need this mission!