Experts say a meteorite that fell on Britain has clues as to how life formed on Earth
- Analysis of the space rock showed that it contains 11% water and 2% carbon
- Experts say finding asteroids appears to have played a key role in launching the oceans and life
- The meteorite said it gives “insight into how Earth gets its water.”
Scientists say a meteorite that fell in the UK last year carries key information about how the oceans and life on Earth formed.
An analysis of the space rock, which fell on Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, showed that it contained 11 percent water and 2 percent carbon.
The experts said their findings, published in Science Advances, show that asteroids played a key role in ‘delivering the ingredients needed to start the oceans and life’.
Dr Luke Daly, from the University of Glasgow, said they provide “insight into how Earth gets its water – the source of so much life”.
The meteor fell to Earth in a fireball that was seen from across the UK, tracked by doorbell cameras, and finally landed in the Cotswold town of Winkcombe in February.
He said: One of the biggest questions asked to the scientific community is how did we get here?
This analysis on the Winchcombe meteorite gives insight into how Earth gets its water – the source of so much life.
Researchers will continue to work on this sample for years to come, uncovering more secrets in the origins of our solar system.
The Winchcombe meteorite belongs to a rare class of rocks known as carbonaceous chondrites.
Carbonaceous chondrites make up about 3 percent of all meteorites collected on Earth and are believed to contain unaltered chemicals from the formation of the solar system more than four billion years ago.
Dr Ashley King, of the Natural History Museum and an author on the paper, said the analysis offers scientists a “puzzling snapshot through time of the original formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago”.
Analysis of the meteorite sample revealed the presence of extraterrestrial water, which the researchers say is “entrapped in minerals formed during chemical reactions between liquids and rocks on the parent asteroid in the early stages of the solar system.”
Chemical analysis revealed that this water is very similar in composition to water on Earth.
The samples have also been found to contain amino acids – molecules that are one of the essential ingredients for the origin of life.
The researchers said the meteorite’s rapid recovery allowed experts to analyze its composition while it was in a pristine state.
Dr Natasha Almeida, Curator of Meteorites at the Natural History Museum and co-author of the paper, said: ‘We are still reeling from our good fortune to have such an important meteorite fall in the UK, and we are very grateful to the local community for their donations and the UK Cosmic Chemistry Network for working together to produce this study. intense.
“The combination of this rapid recovery, careful assembly and Winchcombe’s continued treatment in a nitrogen atmosphere means that this incredibly new specimen will remain one of the most pristine meteorites in collections worldwide.”