Alien water found for first time in meteorite that landed in UK | UK News


Alien water was first discovered in a meteorite that landed in Britain.

The meteorite crashed into a driveway in the Gloucestershire town of Winchcombe last February and is said to hold clues as to where the water in Earth’s vast oceans came from.

About 12% of the sample was water and, according to Ashley King, a researcher in the Planetary Materials group at the Natural History Museum, offers many insights as it was the least contaminated specimen collected.

“The composition of this water is very, very similar to the composition of the water in Earth’s oceans,” he told the British Science Festival.

“It’s really good evidence that asteroids and bodies like Winchcombe made a very important contribution to Earth’s oceans.”

dr King also confirmed that it was the first time a meteorite containing extraterrestrial water – albeit encased in minerals – had fallen in Britain, in the historic town of Cotswold.

He explained that since the 1 pound (0.5 kg) meteorite was recovered quickly in about 12 hours, it was not contaminated by water and materials on Earth.

He continued: “We always try to match the composition of water meteorites and other extraterrestrial materials to the composition of water on Earth.

“The challenge for us with most meteorites is that they’re just contaminated, whereas with Winchcombe we really know they really haven’t been contaminated, so that’s good evidence.”

Fragments of the meteorite that landed at Winchcombe last year

dr King continued, “One of the big questions we have in planetary science is where did the water on Earth come from? And one of the obvious places is either through comets, which contain lots of ice, or through asteroids.

“There’s always a debate – were comets the main source, were asteroids the main source?”

But he explained that data from missions on comets suggests they don’t pair well with water on Earth, adding: “The composition of the water at Winchcombe is a much better match, which would imply that asteroids – carbonaceous asteroids – probably were the main source of water for the inner solar system, for the earth.”

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dr King continued, “We have an indication that some asteroids are a good match for Earth.

“But now we have a really fresh meteorite that we know hasn’t been modified, and it confirms the same story.”

In a speech at De Montfort University, which hosts the festival, Dr. King that the analysis indicates the meteorite came from an asteroid somewhere near Jupiter.

It is believed to have formed about 4.6 billion years ago and took about 300,000 years to reach Earth.

There are currently about 65,000 known meteorites on Earth.

The meteorite found at Winchcombe is the first known carbonaceous chondrite found in Britain and the first to be recovered across the country in 30 years.

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