Astronomers studying a remote baby star have found a “missing link” that could finally explain the origins of water on Earth, a new study suggests.
By training a powerful radio telescope at V883 Orionis, a protostar 1,300 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Orion, astronomers have spotted gaseous water with a chemical composition close to the one found in comets around Earth. This is vital evidence that water delivered by comets to ancient Earth came from gas clouds older than the sun.
Astronomers previously observed water moving from gas clouds to planet-forming disks around young stars, and then later from comets to planets. But the missing link in the chain — the step from young stars to comets — has proven elusive. Now, in new findings published Mar. 8 in the journal Nature, researchers have finally filled in the blank.
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