Water, the life-liquid, running through our veins, forming the most of our cells, from plants to animals, has been suggested to be older than the sun – at least, part of the water in our oceans, in comets and other heavenly bodies. Around half of the water on our blue planet has been there before the fully-formed sun, according to a new paper published in the journal Science.
Water sustains all forms of life. For how long has it been here though? How did it come here, and when did it reach here, are all part of life’s mysteries. The more man acquires knowledge, the more does he realise as to how this is like a drop in the ocean – we know so little of our own selves, of our environment, and, of everything else. When was water formed? No answer. However, scientists have had the reputation of seeking answers, breaking barriers, and pushing the human intellect to deliver more and more. As a matter of fact, a team of researchers have attempted to find out whether water has existed before or after the sun – the scientists who have put forward this possibility have compared the ratios of the isotopes of hydrogen over time in order to find the answers.
It has been theorised that during the formation of our sun, some water was found in the dust cloud that gathered around it. Scientists have so far been unsure as to whether this water was destroyed during the process of the birth of the sun, or whether it made its way to the Earth. In order to identify the origin of the water on our planet, the scientists measured the ratio of heavy hydrogen (deuterium, which is another form of hydrogen) to hydrogen. The results yielded thereof showed that the deuterium levels on our planet are higher than what would have been expected to be in the disk formed around the sun during the latter’s formation. This implies that the water in question is older than the sun itself – it must have existed at a time when heavy hydrogen was found in abundance, when the sun was not yet formed.
These findings have profound implications: this would mean that water can resist destruction as a star as the sun is formed and preserved in planets. Now, could it mean that other planets might also be made up of water just like ours if they are part of a solar system formed in the manner ours came into being?
A professor from the Physics and Astronomy Department of the University of Exeter in the UK : “By identifying the ancient heritage of Earth’s water, we can see that the way in which our solar system was formed will not be unique, and that exoplanets will form in environments with abundant water. Consequently, it raises the possibility that some exoplanets could house the right conditions, and water resources, for life to evolve.”