Extraterrestrial aliens were first detected in a meteorite that landed in the UK.
The meteorite hit a driveway in the Gloucestershire town of Winchcombe last February and is believed to hold clues to the source of water in Earth’s vast oceans.
According to Ashley King, a researcher in the planetary materials group at the Natural History Museum, about 12 percent of the sample is made up of water and offers many insights because it is the least contaminated specimen collected. ten.
He told the British Science Festival: “The composition of that water is very similar to the composition of water in the oceans on Earth.
“It’s a really good piece of evidence that asteroids and bodies like Winchcombe have made a very important contribution to Earth’s oceans.”
Dr King also confirmed that this is the first time a meteorite containing water other than Earth – despite being encased in minerals – has landed in the historic UK town of Cotswold.
He explained that because the 1lb (0.5kg) meteorite was recovered quickly, within about 12 hours, it was uncontaminated by water and materials on Earth.
“We’ve always tried to match the composition of water meteorites and other extraterrestrial materials with the composition of water on Earth,” he continued.
“For most meteorites, the challenge we have is that they’re just contaminated, whereas with Winchcombe we actually know that it’s actually not contaminated, so that’s good evidence. “
Dr. King continued: “One of the big questions we ask in planetary science is where does the water on Earth come from? And one of the obvious places is through comets there’s a lot of ice and asteroids.
“There’s always a debate – are comets the primary source, are asteroids the primary source?”
But he explains that data from the missions to comets show they don’t match well with water on Earth, adding: “The composition of the water in Winchcombe is much more consistent, so that means the asteroids – carbonaceous asteroids – could be the main source of water for the inner solar system, for the Earth.”
Dr King continued: “We’ve had the suggestion that some asteroids fit back into Earth nicely.
“But now we have a very new meteorite that we know is unmodified, and it is confirming the same story.”
Speaking at De Montfort University, which is hosting the festival, Dr King revealed that the analysis showed the meteorite originated from an asteroid somewhere near Jupiter.
It is believed to have formed about 4.6 billion years ago and took about 300,000 years to reach Earth.
As of now, there are about 65,000 known meteorites on Earth.
The meteorite found at Winchcombe is the first carbon-based chondrite found in the UK, and the first found across the country in 30 years.