Molecules of Water Found in Space Dust

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Researchers from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have found that solar wind carrying space dust could be a source of water in the universe.

Researchers from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have found that solar wind carrying space dust could be a source of water in the universe.

Cosmic space dust is known to carry oxygen while solar winds from the sun are mostly charged hydrogen ions. By combining silicates found in space like olivine, clinopyroxene ,and anorthine with hydrogen to replicate solar wind, researchers were able to create similar chemical reactions to those that occur in space between dust and solar wind. The study’s sensitive testing methods on space dust brought back from the Apollo missions found water formed on the dust when it was subjected to hydrogen.

Martin McCoustra from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh commented on the study saying: “This source of water, albeit new, won't be able to account for a large proportion of water in the solar system. Most of that water was formed during the process of star formation that our sun went through.”

Not only has the study shown that these materials can combine to create water, but astronomers have also found water molecules in space dust for the first time.

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