Mar 14, 2024

Water found on asteroid surfaces

Posted by in category: space

The first detection of water molecules on the surface of asteroids has been confirmed, following spectral analysis of two large main‑belt objects.

Credit: Courtesy of NASA/Carla Thomas/SwRI

Using data from the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) – a joint project of NASA and Germany’s space agency – scientists have, for the first time, discovered water molecules on the surface of an asteroid. A team of researchers looked at four silicate-rich asteroids using an instrument known as Faint Object infraRed CAmera for the SOFIA Telescope (FORCAST), which isolated the mid-infrared spectral signatures indicating molecular water on two of them.

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