Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
The large disks of gas and dust that swirled around the Sun and eventually formed the inner planets were too hot to sustain ice. Pixabay

Water covers 70% of the Earth’s surface and is crucial to life as we know it, but how it got here has been a longstanding scientific debate. The puzzle was a step closer to being solved Thursday after a French team reported in the journal Science they had identified which space rocks were responsible, and suggested our planet has been wet ever since it formed.

Cosmochemist Laurette Piani, who led the research, told AFP the findings contradicted the prevalent theory that water was brought to an initially dry Earth by far-reaching comets or asteroids. According to early models for how the Solar System came to be, the large disks of gas and dust that swirled around the Sun and eventually formed the inner planets were too hot to sustain ice.


Follow NewsGram on Facebook to stay updated.

This would explain the barren conditions on Mercury, Venus, and Mars — but not our blue planet, with its vast oceans, humid atmosphere, and well-hydrated geology. Scientists, therefore, theorized that the water came along after, and the prime suspects were meteorites known as carbonaceous chondrites that are rich in hydrous minerals. But the problem was that their chemical composition doesn’t closely match our planet’s rocks. The carbonaceous chondrites also formed in the outer Solar System, making it less likely they could have pelted the early Earth.


The problem was that their chemical composition doesn’t closely match our planet’s rocks. Pixabay

Planetary building blocks

Another group of meteorites, called enstatite chondrites, are a much closer chemical match, containing similar isotopes (types) of oxygen, titanium, and calcium. This indicates they were Earth’s and the other inner planets’ building blocks. However, because these rocks formed close to the Sun, they had been assumed to be too dry to account for Earth’s rich reservoirs of water.

To test whether this was really true, Piani and her colleagues at Centre de Recherches Petrographiques et Geochimiques (CRPG, CNRS/Universite de Lorraine) used a technique called mass spectrometry to measure the hydrogen content in 13 enstatite chondrites. The rocks are now quite rare, making up only about two percent of known meteorites in collections, and it is hard to find them in pristine, uncontaminated conditions.


The work “brings a crucial and elegant element to this puzzle” wrote Anne Peslier, a planetary scientist for NASA, in an accompanying editorial. Pixabay

The team found that the rocks contained enough hydrogen in them to provide Earth with at least three times the water mass of its oceans — and possibly much more. They also measured two isotopes of hydrogen, because the relative proportion of these is very different from one celestial object to another.

ALSO READ: NASA To Launch Scientific Balloons To Examine The Sun-Earth System

“We found the hydrogen isotopic composition of enstatite chondrites to be similar to one of the waters stored in the terrestrial mantle,” said Piani, comparing it to a DNA match. The isotopic composition of the oceans was found to be consistent with a mixture containing 95% of the water from the enstatite chondrites — more proof these were responsible for the bulk of Earth’s water.

The authors further found that the nitrogen isotopes from the enstatite chondrites are similar to Earth’s — and proposed these rocks could also be the source of the most abundant component of our atmosphere. Piani added that research doesn’t exclude later addition of water by other sources like comets, but indicates that enstatite chondrites contributed significantly to Earth’s water budget at the time it formed. The work “brings a crucial and elegant element to this puzzle” wrote Anne Peslier, a planetary scientist for NASA, in an accompanying editorial. (VOA/JC)


Popular

IANS

Dia Mirza champions sustainable fashion

Actor and environmental activist, Dia Mirza, who is also the National Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) was showstopper for Indian designers Abraham & Thakore at the recently held LFW X FDCI event. The designer duo who are pioneers of slow fashion and sustainability in the Indian fashion landscape showcased a timeless sustainable collection.

IANSlife spoke with Mirza on sustainable choices when it comes to fashion.

Read Excerpts:

Q: Did you enjoy the on-ground fashion event and the energy that came with the physical show and appearance?
A: Yes absolutely. It was just so refreshing and wonderful to finally be back from a virtual audience. Last year we did a digital show and the energy was just not there, this is an interactive experience and we draw so much from real people.

Q: The outfit that was chosen for you, how did it complement your style?
A: It's a garment that I think involves and is reflective of what I stand for, I deeply care about sustainability and I love the fact that the garment has been made with repurposed material, used and created with a hundred per cent post-consumer bottles, and made by the waste generated from the pieces of fabric that we discard while creating other garments. So it was a very special garment that really and truly celebrated repurposing and reusing and upcycling.

Dia Mirza is an Indian model, actress, producer, and social worker who predominantly works in Hindi films. Mirza won the title of Miss Asia Pacific International in 2000. IANSlife spoke with Mirza on sustainable choices when it comes to fashion. | Wikimedia Commons

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Delhi to get new QR-based driving livenses and registration certificates.

In a step towards digitisation of the system, Delhi Transport Department will soon issue QR based Smart cards for driving licenses (DLs) and registration certificates (RCs).

As per a statement, the new driving licence will have an advanced microchip with features like Quick Response (QR) code and Near Field Communication (NFC). The new RC will have the owner's name printed on the front while the microchip and the QR code would be embedded at the back of the card.

The cards earlier had embedded chips, but chip reader machines were not available in the required quantity with both the Delhi Traffic Police and the Enforcement Wing of the Transport Department. Moreover, chips were designed and implemented by the states concerned, which resulted in difficulties in reading the chip and retrieving information, especially in case of defaulters.

"Now with the QR based smart card, this issue is resolved. This will enable unification in linking and validating one's information to smart cards with Sarathi and Vahan, the two web-based databases of all driving licenses and vehicle registrations," the release added.

The QR is also being implemented nationwide, the QR code reader is easily procurable and will do away with the requirement of any manual intervention altogether. The new cards will also allow two specific materials for their card manufacturing -- PolyVinyl Chloride or PVC, or PolyCarbonate which is slightly more expensive but more durable. (Card Size - 85.6mm x 54.02 mm; Thickness minimum 0.7 mm)

An October 2018 notification of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) had made changes to the Driving License and Registration Certificate. The new Smart card based DL and RC, will have chip based/ QR code based recognition system. At the same time, documents such as driving license or registration certificates in electronic formats on DigiLockers and mParivahan were also made valid in place of physical documents and treated at par with original documents.

The QR code also has an added advantage of acting as a safety feature on the smart card. The department will be able to retain records and penalties of the DL holder for up to 10 years on the VAHAN database as soon as a driver/ owner's Smart card is confiscated. The new DLs will also help the government in maintaining records of differently-abled drivers, any modifications made to the vehicles, emission standards and the person's declaration to donate organs. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Delhi, Driving License, Registration License, Digitisation.


voa

In this handout photo provided by Sotheby's Auction House, the auction for Banksy's "Love is the Bin" takes place in London, Oct. 14, 2021

LONDON — A work by British street artist Banksy that sensationally shredded itself just after it sold at auction three years ago fetched almost 18.6 million pounds ($25.4 million) on Thursday — a record for the artist, and close to 20 times its pre-shredded price.

"Love is in the Bin" was offered by Sotheby's in London, with a presale estimate of 4 million pounds to 6 million pounds ($5.5 million to $8.2 million).

Keep reading... Show less