Water discovered on second asteroid, may be even more common

Oct 07, 2010
Two teams of researchers who made national headlines in April for showing the first evidence of water ice and organic molecules on an asteroid have now discovered that asteroid 65 Cybele contains the same material. Credit: Gabriel Pérez, Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, Spain

Water ice on asteroids may be more common than expected, according to a new study that will be presented today at the world's largest gathering of planetary scientists.

Two teams of researchers who made national headlines in April for showing the first evidence of and on an have now discovered that asteroid 65 Cybele contains the same material.

"This discovery suggests that this region of our contains more water ice than anticipated," said University of Central Florida Professor Humberto Campins. "And it supports the theory that asteroids may have hit and brought our planet its water and the building blocks for life to form and evolve here."

Campins will present the teams' findings during the 42nd-annual Division of Planetary Sciences Conference in Pasadena, Calif., which concludes Oct. 8.

Asteroid 65 Cybele is somewhat larger than asteroid 24 Themis – the subject of the teams' first paper. Cybele has a diameter of 290 km (180 miles). Themis has a diameter of 200 km (124 miles). Both are in the same region of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

The academic article reporting this new finding has been accepted for publication in the European Journal "Astronomy and Astrophysics."

Campins is an expert on asteroids and comets. He received national attention for an article published in Nature showing the first evidence of water ice and organic molecules on asteroid 24 Themis. He's also worked on several science missions with NASA and the European Space Agency.

Campins holds degrees from the University of Kansas and the University of Arizona. He joined UCF in 2002 as the Provost Research Professor of Physics and Astronomy and head of the Planetary and Space Science Group.

Explore further: Research suggests Mars once had more water than Earth's Arctic ocean

Related Stories

Dawn moves closer to the asteroid belt

Sep 12, 2007

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has been positioned at Kennedy Space Center's launch pad 17B atop a Delta II rocket for its launch from Florida later this month.

University of Victoria Gets Its Place Among The Stars

May 31, 2007

Looking for directions to UVic? No sweat. Hop on a space shuttle and head for the middle of an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. A mere 416 million km from Earth you’ll find a 3.5-km chunk of rock hurtling away from ...

Recommended for you

Scanning Earth, saving lives

14 hours ago

A high-speed camera for monitoring vegetation from space and combating famine in Africa is being adapted to spot changes in human skin cells, invisible to the naked eye, to help diagnose skin diseases like ...

THEMIS camera helps NASA pick site for next Mars lander

17 hours ago

NASA's next Mars space probe, a lander named InSight, is due to touch down on the Red Planet in September 2016 with a mission focused on the planet's internal properties. Its landing place has been chosen ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Yellowdart
not rated yet Oct 07, 2010
Yup, we will probably find most of them to have a substantial H20 composition for asteroids in the Mars/Jupiter belt.

Either, asteroids have contributed to the earth, or it is vice versa, the earth has contributed to the asteroids.

Quantum_Conundrum
not rated yet Oct 07, 2010
Water means hydrogen for future fusion powered rocketry and mininng.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.