A recent research published in the journal Science estimates that about 30% – 50% of the water in the solar system like the water on Earth, the discs around Saturn, and the meteorites of other planets was already around even before the birth of the sun.
The research method utilized was through the use of “heavy water” ices which are defined as hydrogen isotope deuterium as well as water ice. It also explored the difference in mass between the isotopes result and its subtle differences in its behavior during chemical reactions.
A simulation was also done in order to come up with this result. A sophisticated modeling was utilized in order to simulate the proto-planetary disc and created a version in which all the deuterium from the interstellar ice had been eliminated in the formation of the sun.
This was necessary in order to see if the system could produce the ration of deuterium to hydrogen that can be traced in Earth and in meteorites and comets from chemical reactions in the solar nebula.
The simulation did not produce the expected result. Before this new research finding emerged, scientists believed that the Earth’s water was derived from the proto-planetary disc (solar nebula) which surrounded the Sun in its early days.
Professor Tim Harries of the University of Exeter’s Physics and Astronomy Department stated that this discovery is an “important step forward” in the quest of finding life on other planets. In his statement, he further explained the research finding stating that “Water is vital for the evolution of life on Earth, but it was possible that the Earth’s water originated in the specific conditions of the early solar system, and that those circumstances might occur infrequently elsewhere.
By identifying the ancient heritage of Earth’s water, we can see that the way in which our solar system was formed will not be unique and that exoplanets will form in environments with abundant water. Consequently, it raises the possibility that some exoplanets could house the right conditions, and water resources, for life, to evolve.”
Ted Bergin, a professor of Astronomy in Michigan further implied that this would also mean that star system can also access water remarking that “based on our simulations and our growing astronomical understanding, the formation of water from hydrogen and oxygen atoms is a ubiquitous component of the early stages of stellar birth. It is this water, which we know from astronomical observations forms at only ten degrees above absolute zero before the birth of the star, which is provided to nascent stellar systems everywhere.”