A meteorite found in Antarctica has been found studded with pieces of opal, a crystal that is associated with water, which further fuels the idea that meteorites brought water to asteroids and may also be responsible for seeding the Earth with its liquid goodness, which helped life evolve.
The results of this discovery were announced on Monday at the National Astronomy Meeting in Nottingham, England, where researchers stated that this was more evidence pointing at the potential of asteroids and meteorites to carry large amounts of water ice.
According to a report in Fox News, Hilary Downes, lead author and geochemist at the Birkbeck Institute of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of London, said that, “Although we rightly worry about the consequences of the impact of large asteroids, billions of years ago they may have brought the water to the Earth and helped it become the world teeming with life that we live in today.”
Fox News further reported that, Downes and her colleagues found that the meteorite EET 83309 is made up of thousands of broken-up rocks and minerals, suggesting that it came from the surface of an asteroid. Research on the meteorite by other scientists reveals that the rock was exposed to radiation from the sun, solar wind and other cosmic sources. Since an asteroid lacks an atmosphere to shield it from deadly radiation, its surface is constantly dosed with the deadly rays.
Bits and pieces of other asteroids were also embedded in the meteorite, suggesting that the parent asteroid was struck by numerous impacts. As a result of one of the many impacts, water could have been delivered to the surface of the asteroid, forming opal.