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Centauri Dreams

Water Delivery to the Early Earth

12 Sep 2018, 17:29 UTC
Water Delivery to the Early Earth NASA/JPL

Thinking about supplying a young planet with water, the mind naturally heads for the outer reaches of the Solar System. After all, beyond the ‘snowline,’ where temperatures are cold enough to allow water to condense into ice grains, volatiles are abundant (this also takes in methane, ammonia and carbon dioxide, all of which can condense into ice grains). The idea that comets or water-rich asteroids bumping around in a chaotic early Solar System could deliver the water Earth needed for its oceans makes sense, given our planet’s formation well inside the snowline.

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