Solar system looking more resource-rich by the day

Paul Raven @ 12-10-2009

There’s water on Mars, and there’s water on the Moon. And now there’s water out in the asteroid belt, too – if spectral analysis of the rock known as 24 Themis is to believed, that is [via SlashDot]:

Analyses of the sunlight reflected off the asteroid also show that organic compounds are widespread on the surface, he added, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, CH2 and CH3.

The new finding corroborates earlier observations of the same asteroid by astronomers Andrew S. Rivkin and Joshua Emery who also used the Infrared Telescope Facility. Over several years, Rivkin and Emery had found evidence of frozen water in single spots on 24 Themis but had not studied the asteroid as it made one entire rotation. Together, the two teams’ findings reveal that the asteroid’s entire surface is coated with frozen water, Campins says.

[…]

The scientists say these new findings support the theory that asteroids brought both water and organic compounds to the early Earth, helping lay the foundation for life on the planet.

Well, maybe, but it also supports another theory: the asteroid belt is actually the broken remains of Earth’s twin planet which was destroyed by Xenu in a fit of pique OMFG!!!1

Ahem.

The destructive rage of entirely fictional deities aside, it’s becoming clear that the necessities of life – if not life itself – are more abundant out beyond the gravity well than we thought. So maybe we should lend more credence to speculative work like that of planetary scientist Richard Greenfield Greenberg, who theorizes that not only is Europa’s ocean comprised of water, but that it may be more oxygen-rich than those of Earth, meaning there could be all sorts of weird multicellular lifeforms lurking out there waiting to be discovered.

Isn’t it high time we went out and looked?

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2 Responses to “Solar system looking more resource-rich by the day”

  1. Richard Greenberg says:

    Thanks for mentioning my work on the delivery of oxygen into Europa’s ocean, but please give my name correctly: it’s Richard Greenberg (not Greenfield). And I hope you and your readers will check out and enjoy my recent book “Unmasking Europa, The Search for Life on Jupiter’s Ocean Moon”.
    –Richard Greenberg

  2. Paul Raven says:

    Dr Greenberg, please accept my apologies – the error has been corrected. Thanks for taking the time to check out the site. 🙂