For the first time, astronomers have confirmed that an asteroid contains frozen water on its surface. Analysis of asteroid 24 Themis shows evidence of water ice along with organic compounds widespread across the surface. The scientists say these new findings support the theory that asteroids brought both water and organic compounds to the early Earth, helping lay the foundation for life on the planet.
Humberto Campins of the University of Central Florida in Orlando and colleagues recorded spectra of 24 Themis over a seven-hour period, and were able to study 84 percent of the rotational period of the spinning rock, Rob Cowen reported in Science News. Using NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, the spectra revealed the consistent presence of frozen water as different parts of the asteroid’s surface came into view.
Astronomers find water ice on asteroid
Posted on Monday, Oct 12 2009 @ 00:30 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Space Fellowship reports astronomers have for the firs time confirmed that an asteroid contains frozen water on its surface: