Japanese researchers have detected evidence of water in 17 asteroids for the first time using data from the infrared satellite ‘AKARI’.
According to researchers, the discovery will contribute to the understanding of the distribution of water in our solar system, the evolution of asteroids and the origin of water on Earth. The study had appeared in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan.
1. Earth is an aqua-planet, the only planet in our solar system where the presence of water on the planet surface has been confirmed. However, scientists are not yet sure how the Earth acquired water.
2. The recent studies have revealed that even other celestial bodies in our solar system have or used to have water in some form. Asteroids were considered to be one of the possible candidates that brought water to Earth.
3. Researchers from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the University of Tokyo found that water is retained in asteroids as hydrated minerals, which were produced by chemical reactions of water and anhydrous rocks that occurred inside the asteroids.
4. Hydrated minerals exhibit diagnostic absorption features at around 2.7 micrometres. The absorption of water vapour and carbon dioxide in the terrestrial atmosphere preve
5. The infrared wavelengths contain characteristic spectral features of various substances, such as molecules, ice and minerals, which cannot be observed at visible wavelengths.