It turns out the origins of one of the most essential things in our lives date back over 4.6 billion years. A recent experiment conducted by Ilse Cleeves at the University of Michigan suggests that much of Earth’s (and Solar System’s) water may be older than the Sun, and likely originated as ices that formed in interstellar space. I think the famous picture above (by Melzzeny on DeviantArt) becomes pretty relevant now.
Not to mention, the study indicates that abundant, organic-rich interstellar ices should probably be found in all young planetary systems and that would obviously have implications for the emergence of life elsewhere. Identifying the original source of Earth’s water is key to understanding how life-fostering environments come into being. Read about the team’s work here»