Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Evidence Of Liquid Water In Comets Reveals Possible Origin Of Life

Date:
July 31, 2009
Source:
Cardiff University
Summary:
Comets have contained vast amounts of liquid water in their interiors during the first million years of their formation, a new study claims. The watery environment of early comets, together with the vast quantity of organics already discovered in comets, would have provided ideal conditions for primitive bacteria to grow and multiply, experts argue.

Comet Hale-Bopp. The watery environment of early comets, together with the vast quantity of organics already discovered in comets, would have provided ideal conditions for primitive bacteria to grow and multiply, experts argue.
Credit: iStockphoto/Kenneth C. Zirkel

Comets have contained vast amounts of liquid water in their interiors during the first million years of their formation, a new study claims.

Related Articles


The watery environment of early comets, together with the vast quantity of organics already discovered in comets, would have provided ideal conditions for primitive bacteria to grow and multiply. So argue Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe and his colleagues at the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology in a paper published in the International Journal of Astrobiology.

The Cardiff team has calculated the thermal history of comets after they formed from interstellar and interplanetary dust approximately 4.5 billion years ago. The formation of the solar system itself is thought to have been triggered by shock waves that emanated from the explosion of a nearby supernova. The supernova injected radioactive material such as Aluminium-26 into the primordial solar system and some became incorporated in the comets. Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe together with Drs Janaki Wickramasinghe and Max Wallis claim that the heat emitted from radioactivity warms initially frozen material of comets to produce subsurface oceans that persist in a liquid condition for a million years.

Professor Wickramasinghe said: "These calculations, which are more exhaustive than any done before, leaves little doubt that a large fraction of the 100 billion comets in our solar system did indeed have liquid interiors in the past.

Comets in recent times could also liquefy just below their surfaces as they approach the inner solar system in their orbits. Evidence of recent melting has been discovered in recent pictures of comet Tempel 1 taken by the "Deep Impact" probe in 2005."

The existence of liquid water in comets gives added support for a possible connection between life on Earth and comets. The theory, known as cometary panspermia, pioneered by Chandra Wickramasinghe and the late Sir Fred Hoyle argues the case that life was introduced to Earth by comets.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cardiff University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J.T. Wickramasinghe, N.C. Wickramasinghe and M.K. Wallis. Liquid water and organics in Comets: implications for exobiology. International Journal of Astrobiology, 2009; 1 DOI: 10.1017/S1473550409990127

Cite This Page:

Cardiff University. "Evidence Of Liquid Water In Comets Reveals Possible Origin Of Life." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090730141658.htm>.
Cardiff University. (2009, July 31). Evidence Of Liquid Water In Comets Reveals Possible Origin Of Life. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090730141658.htm
Cardiff University. "Evidence Of Liquid Water In Comets Reveals Possible Origin Of Life." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090730141658.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: China Launches Moon Orbiter

Raw: China Launches Moon Orbiter

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) China launched an experimental spacecraft Friday to fly around the moon and back to Earth in preparation for the country's first unmanned return trip to the lunar surface. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Prepares Unmanned Mission To Lunar Orbit

China Prepares Unmanned Mission To Lunar Orbit

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) The mission is China's next step toward automated sample-return missions and eventual manned missions to the moon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russian Cosmonauts Kick Off Final Spacewalk of 2014

Russian Cosmonauts Kick Off Final Spacewalk of 2014

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 22, 2014) Russian cosmonauts Maxim Suraev and Alexander Samokutyaev step outside the International Space Station to perform work on the exterior of the station's Russian module. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) A comet from the farthest reaches of the solar system passed extremely close to Mars this weekend, giving astronomers a rare opportunity to study it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins