The Ancient Heritage of Water Ice in the Solar System

By Keith Cowing
September 29, 2014
Filed under
The Ancient Heritage of Water Ice in the Solar System

Identifying the source of Earth’s water is central to understanding the origins of life-fostering environments and to assessing the prevalence of such environments in space.

Water throughout the solar system exhibits deuterium-to-hydrogen enrichments, a fossil relic of low-temperature, ion-derived chemistry within either (i) the parent molecular cloud or (ii) the solar nebula protoplanetary disk. Utilizing a comprehensive treatment of disk ionization, we find that ion-driven deuterium pathways are inefficient, curtailing the disk’s deuterated water formation and its viability as the sole source for the solar system’s water.

This finding implies that if the solar system’s formation was typical, abundant interstellar ices are available to all nascent planetary systems.

L. Ilsedore Cleeves (1), Edwin A. Bergin (1), Conel M. O’D. Alexander (2), Fujun Du (1), Dawn Graninger (3), Karin I. Oeberg (3), Tim J. Harries (4) ((1) University of Michigan (2) Carnegie DTM (3) Harvard-Smithsonian CfA (4) University of Exeter) (Submitted on 25 Sep 2014)

Comments: 33 pages, 7 figures including main text and supplementary materials. Published in Science

Subjects: Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (astro-ph.SR)

Journal reference: Science, Vol. 345 no. 6204 pp. 1590-1593 (2014)

DOI: 10.1126/science.1258055 Cite as: arXiv:1409.7398 [astro-ph.SR] (or arXiv:1409.7398v1 [astro-ph.SR] for this version)

Submission history From: L. Ilsedore Cleeves [v1] Thu, 25 Sep 2014 20:00:13 GMT (6491kb)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻