Much of Earth’s water older than the sun

By on October 3, 2014

NASA satellite mosaic of Earth (Credit: NASA)

A new study asserts that 30 to 50 percent of Earth’s water is older than the sun, the Washington Post reported. The findings could help scientists unravel the mystery behind the source of water on this planet and others.

By analyzing deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen that forms what scientists call “heavy water,” researchers found that water molecules may have been left over from the gaseous cloud that formed the sun. Following the sun’s birth, a protoplanetary disk of matter would have been left behind. Water from this disk likely ended up here on Earth.

If stars typically form a protoplanetary disk — scientists are pretty sure that’s the case — and if water can be present in any of those disks, then there’s a good chance water exists on plenty of other planets across the universe, the researchers say.

Image: NASA satellite mosaic of Earth (Credit: NASA)

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