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Stardust water: Grains of stardust hint at life on other planets? Huge discovery

Stardust water recently found this week is being called a huge discovery by a number of space experts. Scientists have allegedly come across minuscule grains of stardust that naturally float within the solar system composed of the chemical building blocks of life and of water. Such an important finding might suggest life exists on other planets, while also serving as a source of major organic life back here on Earth, Yahoo! News reports this Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014.

Stars in the night sky with tree photo
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

This stardust water discovery is being noted as one noteworthy space breakthrough in terms of hinting toward life out in the great beyond. With our vast solar system comprised of matter — from the planets and our sun down to each speck of dust — it might very well be these grains of dust that hold the secrets to life formation. While the notion of stardust containing water has been believed for many years, it has not been explicitly confirmed.

Now, however, a team of space scientists have now learned that by examining these stardust grains intently — through the use of a high-resolution microscope — they do indeed hold moisture, sealed away under its minuscule surface. Combined with evidence that these dust specks hold organic matter, the presence of water suggests that these “specks” truly jump-started life on our planet.

A university expert highlights the way this huge discovery of stardust water might influence future studies.

"The implications are potentially huge," said Hope Ishii of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, according to New Scientist. "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."

Just how much of this small amounts of water make it onto planets like Earth still isn't fully known, but as Ishii told New Scientist, "In no way do we suggest that this was sufficient to form oceans. This water would simply have added to what was delivered by the bombardment of asteroids and comets during the early years of the solar system.”

Nonetheless, such a finding is believed to have meaning that far surpasses simply Earth or even our own star system. The cosmic dust that exists in our universe could also fill other solar systems, and if powerful solar winds have been able to sustain water on these dust grains locally, water can certainly form — or continue to form — in other stars throughout the galaxy as well.

“It's still a far cry from being able to say with certainty that there's life out there in the big, wide universe (regardless of the improbability that Earth is the only life-bearing planet). However, until we actually detect concrete life on other worlds, or signals from distant alien sources, this is another addition to the growing mountain of evidence that we are indeed far from alone.”

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