Remember that some of the molecules in your “fresh” sip of water are actually billions of years old—far older than the solar system itself.
It looks doubtful that water existed on Earth before the solar system in which it is located. However, a recent peer-reviewed study published in the journal Science supports this.
Astronomers arrived at this conclusion by demonstrating that water in our solar system had to have been produced inside the huge cloud of gas and dust that preceded and was required for the creation of the star known as the Sun. This implies that water existed before the Sun exploded into a star, water that eventually made its way to Earth via “wet rocks” such as asteroids or comets.
Ted Bergin, an astronomy professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, is one of the study’s authors. Looking back 4.6 billion years, he thinks there is “a magnificent narrative to be told.”
Tiny particles smaller than the diameter of a human hair were employed to construct the Earth. This is referred to as “dust” by astronomers, who, according to Bergin, are “very imaginative people.”
These dust particles would collect so much energy at this distance from the Sun that they would become too hot for water to form as ice on them. According to Bergin, this shows that the Earth was dry when it was created. Now here’s an intriguing conundrum: where did the water come from?
Bergin thinks that a broader question must be asked: Where did the water in the cosmos come from? “The cosmos is made of atoms, not water,” he claims. As a result, those atoms in the universe linked together through chemistry at some point in time to become water.
Fortunately, astronomers can analyse that chemical using tools on Earth. They can recreate the conditions that lead to the generation of water. This is accomplished through the use of a technology known as isotope fingerprinting.
This is accomplished through the use of a technology known as isotope fingerprinting. The second type is deuterium. These elements live in a more-or-less constant ratio throughout the solar system: there are approximately 100,000 hydrogen atoms for every deuterium atom. Water may contain this much hydrogen and deuterium.
Chemistry, according to Bergin, “tells us that there can be an excess of deuterium under extremely exact conditions.” This is known as a “isotopic fingerprint.” Deuterium is plentiful on Earth and in comets and asteroids.
The isotopic fingerprint is only observable at very low temperatures, between 10 and 20 degrees above absolute zero (-441 degrees Fahrenheit). As a result, Bergin writes, “we already know one thing: whatever the source of the water was, it was extraordinarily, incredibly cold.” This is due to the Earth’s deuterium surplus. As a result, we must analyse how stars and planets form and ask, “Where is it that cold?”
Temperatures this low are only possible in two places in the huge, violent system where stars first form: the protostar’s surrounding cloud of gas and dust, or the accretion disc that is just beginning to form around it. However, there is one more surprise: water is also generated chemically, in a process called as ionisation. The researchers found that the disc is unable to drive it by evaluating a thorough model of this chemical occurrence.
According to Bergin, this shows that the disc, as opposed to the cloud of gas and dust, which are the two most likely sources of water, is unable to do so. Given this, water with an isotopic signature could only have originated from gas and dust about a million years before the sun.
However, this begs the question of how this water ended up on Earth. According to Bergin, planets are formed from the same cloud of gas and dust that compresses and bursts into flame to form a star.
The cloud launched rocks into space, where they collided with the subatomic particles that eventually became Earth. They collided with the Earth and fused with it despite the fact that some of them lacked water. More stones were tossed our way from a distance; these pebbles were chilly enough to hold water.
Therefore, Bergin claims, “when the Earth was birthing, these boulders from larger distances provided the water.” The seas, the atmosphere, and the lovely world we have today were all produced as a result of the water that had previously been a component of the rocks simply evaporating through volcanoes.