Life on Earth began after asteroids crashed into the planet, scientists have claimed.
Astronomers have confirmed for the first time that a giant space rock contains frozen water on its surface.
Analysis of asteroid 24 Themis also shows evidence of widespread organic chemicals.
The scientists say this supports the theory that asteroids brought both water and compounds to the early Earth – helping lay the foundation for life on the planet.
Using an Hawaii based NASA telescope they studied infrared sunlight reflected by 200-kilometer wide 24 Themis that sits halfway between Mars and Jupiter in an area called the Main Belt.