James Webb Discovered Water in the Asteroid Belt – Breaking News

The scientist working on the Webb Planetary Science Project, co-author of the study, Dr. “How the water on our Earth, the only planet with life we ​​know of, got here remains a mystery,” says Stefanie Milam. said.

Dr. “Understanding the story of water distribution in the solar system will help us understand other planetary systems and whether they can host an Earth-like planet,” Milam said. used the phrase.

It was noted that Comet Read is a main comet in the asteroid belt, its halo and tail, also called coma, appeared at certain periods, and its classification was made by Michael Read and two other scientists in 2006.

Traditional comets have been claimed to be beyond Neptune’s orbit, an area where icy water can be protected because it is far from the sun’s rays, and their tails are made of frozen matter that evaporates as they approach the sun.


“We’ve seen space objects in the past with all the characteristics of comets in the main belt, but only with this precise spectral data from Webb can we say it’s definitely water ice that made these images,” said astronomer Michael Kelley, a University of Maryland faculty member, who led the study. said.

On the other hand, Webb’s measurements showed no carbon dioxide in Comet 238P/Read.

The researchers pointed out that under normal conditions, about 10 percent of a comet’s volatiles are carbon dioxide, and the absence of that gas in Read is more surprising than the presence of water.

Kelley noted that there are two logical explanations for the problem, saying, “One of the possible reasons for Read’s long stay in the asteroid belt is that carbon dioxide evaporates more easily than water ice and may have separated from the comet over billions of years.” .

Kelley stressed that the second possibility is that Comet Read could form in a hot region of the solar system that lacks carbon dioxide.

Heidi Hammel of the Astronomy Research Universities Association (AURA), one of the authors of the study, states that due to the small and faint celestial objects in the asteroid belt it is difficult to detect in advance and that they will investigate whether there is carbon dioxide in other comets in the main belt with the facilities of the Webb telescope.

The research has been published in the journal Nature.

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