Solar winds would be responsible for water on Earth, study reveals

The solar wind is more than a spectacular astronomical phenomenon, since a new study argues that was one of the factors that produced water on Earth, a substantial element that allowed the proliferation of life on the planet. Until now, one of the most accepted hypotheses is that the water arrived so abundantly through asteroid impacts, since our world is 70% covered in water, something that does not happen in the rest of the solar system.

However, an analysis of the isotopic footprint of some celestial bodies and it has been found that, on average, their characteristics do not coincide with those of the water on Earth, so it is still a mystery how there is so much liquid in our home .

How did the water get to Earth?

Now, the study, done by the University of Glasgow and other institutions, holds that the solar wind, with particles charged with hydrogen ions, created the ideal conditions for the existence of water on the surface of dust grains which in turn were transported by asteroids in the early days of our Solar System.

“Our research suggests that the solar wind created water on the surface of small grains of dust and that this water (isotopically lighter) contributed the rest of this element on Earth ”, Phil Bland explained, director of the Center for Space Science and Technology at Curtin University, Australia and a co-author of the study.

This idea is based on the analysis of the fragments of the asteroid Itokawa, brought to Earth by the Hayabusa probe of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, in 2010. “We took an incredibly detailed look inside the first 50 nanometers (of the grains ) and we found that they contained enough water that, if scaled up, it would be equivalent to about 20 liters per cubic meter of rock, ”Bland explained.

According to the participants in the analysis, research could be the starting point for investigating methods to “process fresh water supplies” directly from the lunar soil and other remote worlds, such as Mars.


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