Extraterrestrial water has been discovered in a meteorite that crashed into Earth in the United Kingdom for the first time.
According to the Independent, scientists believe that the Winchcombe meteorite, which collided with a town in the Gloucestershire town last February, may also include clues about origins of the water that makes up the planet’s vast seas.
Dr. Ashley King explained the discovery at The British Science Festival, Europe’s longest-running science festival that moves to a different location in the United Kingdom each year.
Water made up 12% of the sample, according to Dr. Ashley King, a researcher in the Natural History Museum’s in planetary materials group, and as the least contaminated specimen found, it offers a wealth of information.
He added during the festival that the water’s composition was “very, very similar” to that of the oceans on Earth.
It was saved from contamination by Earthly minerals and water because the 1lb (0.5kg) meteorite was recovered in less than 12 hours.
According to Dr. King, “We always strive to match the composition of the water on Earth to that of the water meteorites and other extra-terrestrial elements.”
The problem with most meteorites is that they are just contaminated, but with Winchcombe, we are confident that it hasn’t been contaminated, therefore this is strong proof.
Where did the water on Earth come from is one of the major problems in planetary sciences. According to Dr. King, “and one of the obvious places is either through comets that have loads and loads of ice in them or asteroids.
Learn more about the Winchcombe meteorite
The Winchcombe meteorite was observed entering the Earth’s atmosphere above Gloucestershire, England, on February 28, 2021. The Wilcox family reportedly found the meteorite’s first parts, and the following month, further pieces were found by meteorite hunters, according to The Telegraph.
It is a 4.6 billion year old meteorite that originated in the asteroid belt between Mars & Jupiter. The meteorite’s pieces were on display at the London Natural History Museum on May 17, 2021.
The six camera networks of the UK Fireball Alliance, which is led by the Natural History Museum, as well as doorbell cameras in individual residences all captured photographs of the bright meteorite. A sonic boom was audible nearby, and more than 1,000 eyewitness reports came from the UK and other Northern European countries. The trajectory of the object might be reconstructed thanks to these data. There was a public call for pieces.