As it turns out, a new study indicates that Earth had water on it just 14 million years after the start of the solar system. That is a significant improvement in certainty over what was previously estimated. The new research comes after scientists successfully put a match between hydrogen and carbonaceous chondrite of Earth.
Adam Sarafian, a geophysics doctorate student at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts said that “All of the planets could have gotten their water very early,” and even said that all of the planets – at that point “could have been habitable immediately after they formed.”
Previously, the Apollo missions were what revealed that water was available in the inner solar system just 150 years after the start of the solar system. Now though, a much more specific number was reached, with the help of evaluating and measuring a mineral called apatite in a sample collected from the Vesta meteorites – otherwise known as eukrites.
“This is the oldest water that anyone has measured that has accreted to something that resembles a planet,” a member of the study team said. This research pushes back the clock on when Earth could have first seen its waters develop. While there are still a lot of questions regarding the beginnings of water on this planet, and other planets, this goes a long way to answering some basic questions.
This was the science communities first question, and now that it’s known that just 14 million years into the 4.6 billion year history that the solar system has. In fact, the inner solar system was still developing at this stage. This though puts to bed the theory that water came significantly later in our planets history, as scientists believed before that Earth was born dry, and that the high-energy impacts on the planet would have knocked water into space.
However, instead of developing dry – the new research suggests that the planet developed wet and this ultimately caused and allowed the events that followed to transpire on the surface of Earth. Scientists though are not ready to commit to the notion that all of that water that’s on Earth today was here all along. In fact, scientists are reluctant to point out how much was here when the planet was birthed. However, what scientists aren’t backing away from is that there was enough to support life, and the beginnings of life – and that is what’s important to take from this study.