Scientists find Evidence of Ice on Large Asteroid

Could life on Earth have been kick started thanks to the impact of asteroids and other celestial bodies that brought raw materials to encourage the right conditions for organisms to flourish?

This is the fascinating question that is being posed by scientists in a study published in the scientific journal “Nature”, for ice has been detected on a large 200 kilometre-wide asteroid in an area of our solar system between Mars and the gas giant Jupiter.

Analysis of the asteroid, known as 24 Themis shows evidence of organic matter as well as ice crystals.  Impacts from extraterrestrial bodies such as asteroids and comets could have led to the deposit on Earth of the chemical ingredients required to start or even speed up the development of life forms on planet Earth.  the discovery of ice and carbon elements on this asteroid adds weight to the theory put forward by many astronomers that Earth was relatively arid in its early history and water and other organic compounds were seeded on the planet due to the impact of asteroids and other space debris.

Planetary scientist Dr Josh Emery, of the University of Tennessee, (United States), one of the authors of the astronomical study commented:

“The organics we detected appear to be complex, long-chained molecules.  Raining down on a barren Earth in meteorites, these could have given a big kick-start to the development of life.”

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