Image: Jonathan Knowles, Getty Images
“A new study published today (Sept. 25) in the journal Science suggests that between 10 to 30 percent of the Earth’s water is older than the sun, and likely hails from comets born outside our solar system. That means that the human body, which is 60 percent water, contains a significant percentage of extraterrestrial aqua; in that sense, we are all part alien.” – Douglas Main, Newsweek
And if it’s true of us, it’s probably true of others. Life elsewhere may take similar forms because water may form its basis, as it does ours.
Much of Earth’s Water Is Older Than the Sun, and Came From Deep Space – Newsweek
Up to Half of Earth’s Water Is Older Than the Sun – New Scientist
Half of Earth’s Water Formed Before the Sun Was Born – Science
Water Found in Stardust Could Mean a Universe Seeded With Life
Image: United Nations
The Guardian, known for some of the best environmental reporting coming out of the U.K., posed a question to a bevy of experts in honor of World Water Day 2014, on March 22: “What one piece of advice would you give the UN on water?” More specifically, how should water fit into the post-2015 development agenda? Following up on my recent World Water Day posts below, here’s a link to the answers given by the water wonks from the worlds of business, NGOs and government.
There’s broad agreement among the experts that there should be specific water and sanitation Sustainable Development Goals, just as there was enthusiastic agreement at the UN briefing I recently attended at the WMO in Geneva, Switzerland. Water will be frequently mentioned among other goals because it connects everything, but mere mentions here and there won’t be enough to give the world the clean water and effective sanitation that so many people lack.
What one piece of advice would you give the UN on water? – The Guardian Water hub
Water’s Place Among Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals
At the Point of ‘Peak Water,’ Our Foreseeable Future Grows Shorter
UNICEF Says Put Down Your Cell Phone for a Few Minutes to Help Kids Get Water
Mapping the World’s Most Water-Stressed Countries
The Intersection of Environmental Issues and Human Rights
Score one for those who “want to believe” in extraterrestrial life, a la FBI Agent Fox Mulder of TV classic “The X-Files.” A cosmic rain of interstellar dust could be seeding planets across the universe with the building blocks of life as we know it — water and carbon. For the first time, a study has found water inside actual stardust, in addition to organic elements like carbon, according to a report in New Scientist.
“The implications are potentially huge,” says Hope Ishii of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, one of the researchers behind the study, in a quote from the article. “It is a particularly thrilling possibility that this influx of dust on the surfaces of solar system bodies has acted as a continuous rainfall of little reaction vessels containing both the water and organics needed for the eventual origin of life.”
Ultra-high-resolution microscopy allowed researchers to detect tiny pockets of water trapped beneath the surface of dust particles. Lab experiments have suggested how the water gets there. The dust, oxygen-rich from silicates, collides in space with a solar wind made in part of hydrogen ions. In the collision, hydrogen and oxygen combine and make water. In theory, anywhere there is a star (e.g., the sun), this can happen.
Water found in stardust suggests life is universal – New Scientist
How much of the human body is made up of stardust? – Physics Central