Extraterrestrial water first found in a meteorite landed in the UK

Extraterrestrial water first found in a meteorite landed in the UK

Extraterrestrial water was first discovered in a meteorite that landed in the UK.

The meteorite crashed into a driveway in the Gloucestershire town of Winchcombe last February and is believed to contain clues to where the water came from in Earth’s vast oceans.

About 12 percent of the sample was water and offers plenty of insight as it was the least contaminated specimen to collect, according to Ashley King, a researcher in the Natural History Museum’s planetary materials group.

“The composition of that water is very, very similar to the composition of water in Earth’s oceans,” he told the British Science Festival.

“It’s really good proof that asteroids and bodies like Winchcombe have made a very important contribution to the Earth’s oceans.”

Dr. King also confirmed that it was the first time that a meteorite containing extraterrestrial water, albeit encased in minerals, had fallen in the UK’s historic city of Cotswold.

He explained that because the 1 pound (0.5 kg) meteorite was recovered quickly, within about 12 hours, it was not contaminated by water and materials on Earth.

He continued: “We always try to match the composition of water meteorites and other extraterrestrial materials to the composition of water on Earth.

“For most meteorites, the challenge we have is that they are simply contaminated, whereas with Winchcombe we really know it wasn’t really contaminated, so that’s good evidence.”

Dr. King continued: “One of the big questions we have in planetary sciences is where does water come from on Earth? And one of the most obvious places is through comets that contain loads and loads of ice, or asteroids.

“There is always a debate: were comets the main source, were asteroids the main source?”

But he explained that the data from the missions to the comets suggests they are not a good match for water on earth, adding, “The composition of the water in Winchcombe is a much better match, so this would imply that the asteroids – carbonaceous asteroids – they were probably the main source of water for the inner solar system, for the Earth. “

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According to experts, the “brilliant fireball” that lit up the night sky over parts of Britain consisted of space debris.

Dr. King continued: “We have had a clue that some asteroids are well adapted to Earth.

“But now we have a really cool meteorite that we know hasn’t been modified and is confirming the same story.”

Speaking at De Montfort University, which hosts the festival, Dr. King revealed that analysis suggests the meteorite arose from an asteroid somewhere close to Jupiter.

It is believed to have formed around 4.6 billion years ago and took around 300,000 years to reach Earth.

At present, there are approximately 65,000 known meteorites on Earth.

The meteorite found at Winchcombe is the first known carbonaceous chondrite to be found in the UK and the first to be recovered across the country in 30 years.

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