By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent | Oct 9, 2010
Frozen water on asteroids may be more common than previously thought, according to new research that will help to support the idea they might have carried the key ingredient for life to the Earth.
Water ice and organic molecules that help to form the basis of life have been discovered on a second asteroid, called 65 Cybele, by astronomers.
The finding was reported at a meeting of planetary scientists in Pasadena, where scientists said the presence of ice lends support to theories that life on Earth was seeded from out of space after being carried here on asteroids.
The researchers made a similar discovery in April this year when they discovered the first evidence of ice on an asteroid called 24 Themis.
Both this asteroid and the latest discovery are found in the asteroid belt that sits between Mars and Jupiter.
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.
October 10, 2010
Scientists have found water ice on an asteroid for the second time in just six months.
The discovery suggests that such ice is more common on asteroids in our section of the solar system than previously thought – and that such asteroids may have delivered much of the essentials for early life to Earth.
Two research teams found evidence of water and organic molecules on asteroid 65 Cybele.
Six months ago the teams made a similar discovery on a different rock – asteroid 24 Themis – for the first time.