My research report on Star Water is almost complete, until then let this wet your whistle:
“We have shown that solar wind production of water actually happens,” Ishii told SPACE.com.
The scientists analyzed interplanetary dust collected in the dry stratosphere at an altitude of about 12 miles (20 kilometers). Using flags coated in silicone oil mounted on the wing pylons of NASA aircraft, researchers gathered these particles as they rained down from the sky.
Ishii and colleagues used a state-of-the-art transmission aberration-corrected electron microscope to analyze the surface layers of this interplanetary dust. This strategy helped them look for water inside these particles on the scale of nanometers, or billionths of a meter. (For comparison, a human hair is on average about 100,000 nanometers wide.)
“We were originally looking for solar-wind–implanted helium in the rims on minerals in interplanetary dust particles, and stumbled onto water,” Ishii said.
The scientists detected water in the rims of interplanetary dust particles normally thought of as lacking water.
“We have shown for the first time that water and organics are delivered together,” Ishii said.
These findings could have implications for distant planets and the prospect of alien life.
“The process of solar-wind hydrogen ions reacting with oxygen in silicate minerals is ubiquitous throughout our solar system, and we can expect that any other star producing a stellar wind with hydrogen ions will be irradiating silicate minerals in dust and on airless bodies in its vicinity, also,” Ishii said. “Thus, solar-wind–produced water in dust containing organics can be expected to reach other planets in systems similar to ours.”
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