For the first time, extra-terrestrial water was found inside a meteorite
For the first time, extraterrestrial water has been found in a meteorite that crashed into the Earth in the United Kingdom.
The Winchcombe meteorite, which struck a road in the town of Gloucestershire last February, is also believed to contain information about the origins of the water that makes up the planet's immense seas, according to the Independent.
The discovery was expounded by Dr. Ashley King at The British Science Festival — Europe’s longest-standing science Festival, which travels to a different place in the United Kingdom each year.
Dr. Ashley King, a researcher in the planetary materials group at the Natural History Museum, stated that water made up 12 percent of the sample and that as the least contaminated specimen collected, it provides a wealth of information.
“The composition of that water is very, very similar to the composition of water in the Earth’s oceans," he said at the festival.
The 1lb (0.5kg) meteorite was retrieved within roughly 12 hours, which prevented it from being tainted by Earthly minerals and water.
"We always try and match the composition of the water meteorites and other extra-terrestrial materials to the composition of the water on the Earth," said Dr. King.
“For most meteorites, the challenge we have is that they are just contaminated, whereas with Winchcombe we really know that it really hasn’t been contaminated, so it’s good evidence.”
“One of the big questions we have in planetary sciences is where did the water on Earth come from? And one of the obvious places is either through comets that have loads and loads of ice in them or asteroids," also explained Dr. King.
Let's get to know the Winchcombe meteoroit
On February 28, 2021, the Winchcombe meteorite was seen entering the Earth's atmosphere above Gloucestershire, England. According to The Telegraph, The Wilcox family discovered the meteorite's initial bits, and the following month, meteorite hunters discovered further pieces.
It is a meteorite that is 4.6 billion years old and came from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. On May 17, 2021, fragments of the meteorite were on display at the London Natural History Museum.
The Natural History Museum-led UK Fireball Alliance, which has six camera networks, as well as doorbell cameras in private homes, all recorded images of the bright meteorite. Additionally, there were more than 1,000 eyewitness claims from the U.K. and other parts of Northern Europe, and a sonic boom was audible nearby. These observations made it possible to reconstruct its trajectory. A public call for pieces was made.