Based on past planetary researches, water in different states is present in several extraterrestrial planets. However, the recent research highlights that how the presence of water is linked to planet formation and the existence of alien life. The groundbreaking discovery involves the extensive analysis of chemical compositions of the exoplanets, along with confronting hunt for water in the exoplanets (including our nearby planets in our Solar System) and outer space.
The scientists selected 19 exoplanets, ranging from 10 to 600 times the size of Earth, and studied their chemical compositions and thermal properties. They found water vapors in 14 of the 19 exoplanets, but the vapor concentration was less than expected. However, in six planets, the amount of sodium and potassium were abundant. Even the concentration of oxygen in the atmospheres of exoplanets was quite less relative to other elements, which might have restricted the collection of significant water in the form of ice.
Project leader Dr. Nikku Madhusudhan said that water is an essential ingredient supporting habitability on Earth; researchers need to know the volume of water present in the planetary systems like our Solar System.
On a related note, a recent study, published in the journal Science, claims that a significant fraction of water currently on the Earth has come from the ice formed and floating in the interstellar space from ages. While examining the Solar System, researchers found that water is present on moons, icy comets, and neighboring planets including shadowed basins of Mercury.
Professor Harries along with his colleagues tried to ensure if Earth’s water was formed before or during the formation of the Sun. For this, the team used complicated modeling techniques that simulated the chemistry behind the Solar System formation.
They emphasized on two different varieties of water. The basic difference is the hydrogen isotope present in water. Common kind of water contains H1 isotope and is lighter in weight, while the second variety is deuterium oxide, which contains H2 isotope. After analysis, the team found that the amount of heavy water present on the Earth is higher than on our Sun.