Winchcombe meteorite confirmed the hypothesis of the asteroid origin of water on Earth

(ORDO NEWS) — The rare carbonaceous Winchcomb meteorite that fell in Gloucestershire in 2021 has been found to contain extraterrestrial water and organic compounds.

Experts from the Natural History Museum and the University of Glasgow share the results of the first laboratory analyzes of the meteorite.

“Winchcombe’s rapid recovery and curation make it one of the most pristine meteorites available for analysis, providing scientists with a glimpse into the composition of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago,” said Ashley King, author of the paper.

Winchcomb is a rare carbonaceous chondrite. This is the first meteorite of its type found in the UK.

Using chemical analyzes, the team determined that about 2% of its mass is carbon, and about 11% is extraterrestrial water, most of which is contained in minerals.

These minerals were formed from chemical reactions between fluids and rocks on its parent asteroid during the earliest stages of the solar system’s development.

Crucially, the team was able to quickly measure the water’s hydrogen isotope ratio, finding it to be similar to Earth’s.

The meteorite fragments also contain extraterrestrial amino acids, prebiotic molecules that are fundamental components for the origin of life.

Since the composition of the meteorite is largely independent of the Earth’s environment, these results indicate that carbonaceous asteroids played a key role in delivering the ingredients necessary for the birth of the oceans and life on the early Earth.

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