Researchers recently discovered carbon-rich water in ancient meteorites that play a vital role in the early evolution and formation of the solar system.
A report from Ritsumeikan University says there is a lot of water in the solar system. Even outside Earth, scientists have found ice on the Moon, in the rings and comets of Saturn, liquid water on the Red Planet and under the surface of Enceladus, and traces of water vapor in the scorching atmosphere of Venus.
The scientists wanted to know if liquid water inclusions in the form of calcium carbonate (calcite) are present in a class of meteorites known as carbonate chondrites. They come from asteroids that formed in the early history of the solar system. The team studied samples of the Sutters Mill meteorite, formed on an asteroid 4.6 billion years old. The results of their investigation were published in an article for the journal Science Advances.
Researchers used advanced microscopy techniques to examine fragments of the Sutters Mill meteorite. They found a calcite crystal with nanometer-sized aqueous fluid inclusions that contain at least 15% carbon dioxide. This discovery confirms that calcite crystals in ancient carbonaceous chondrites may indeed contain not only liquid water, but also carbon dioxide.
By taking chemical images of the contents of an ancient meteorite, the work of his team can provide important information about the processes that took place in the early history of the solar system.