Using the Herschel Space Telescope, astronomers claim they have unraveled the mystery regarding the origin of water on our planet.
Paul Hartogh, of Germany ‘s Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, claims that recent research indicates that a comet called 103P/Hartley 2 has the same chemical composition as that of Earth’s oceans.
“It was a big surprise when we saw the ratio (D:H) was almost the same as what we find in the Earth’s oceans,” said Hartogh.
“It means it is not true anymore that a maximum of 10 percent of water could have come from comets. Now, in principle, all the water could have come from comets.”
Until now, scientists believed that only 10% of water on Earth could have come from comets. However, the study shows that the water on Earth may come from comets.
“Our results with Herschel suggest that comets could have played a major role in bringing vast amounts of water to an early earth,” added physicist Dariusz Lis of Caltech, a co-author of the research paper.
[Image source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD]