James Webb confirms the presence of water ice in a major comet

With this invention JJames WebbScientists reinforce the theory Aqua reached the planet via asteroids and Kites.

Observations by space telescope James web have confirmed for the first time the presence of gas around a comet In the main asteroid belt, indicating Water is ice The primordial solar system may be preserved in that region.

However, with successful detection Aqua With the space telescope’s Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) instrument comes a new puzzle: unlike any other. KitesHe Comet 238P/read No detectable carbon dioxide, scientists warn in new study Published in Nature.

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Strengthens theory

“Our world is complete AquaOverflowing with life and, as far as we know, unique in the universe, a mystery: we don’t know where it all came from. Aquasaid Stephanie Milam, associate project scientist for the telescope. James web Co-author of Planetary Science and Research. “Understanding the History of Distribution Aqua “This will help us understand other planetary systems in the Solar System and whether they are on track to host an Earth-like planet,” he added in a statement.

He comet According to A main belt comet is an object that resides in the main asteroid belt, but occasionally shows a halo, or a comma and a tail comet.

Los Kites The main belt is a fairly new classification, and Reed is one of the three Kites The original used to establish this category. Before that it was understood that they were residents Beyond Neptune’s orbit, in the Kuiper Belt and the Oort CloudIts ice may be shielded at greater distances from the Sun. The frozen material evaporates Kites Their approach to the Sun gives these objects their characteristic coma and floating tail, distinguishing them from asteroids. Scientists have long speculated Water is ice It may be preserved in the hot asteroid belt in Jupiter’s orbit, but until the advent of telescopes, definitive evidence was difficult to obtain. James web.

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“In the past, we’ve seen core belt materials that have all the characteristics KitesBut only with this precise spectral data from Webb can we say that yes, it definitely is Water is ice It creates that effect,” explained University of Maryland astronomer Michael Kelly.

“With observations of Comet reading Obtained through the telescope, we can now show Water is ice “The early solar system may have been preserved in the asteroid belt,” Kelly said.

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But it has no carbon

The absence of carbon dioxide is a big surprise. In general, carbon dioxide makes up about 10% of a comet’s volatile matter, which is easily vaporized by the sun’s heat. The science team offers two possible explanations for the absence of carbon dioxide. One possibility is that carbon dioxide was present when the reed formed, but lost it due to warmer temperatures.

“Being in the asteroid belt for a long time can cause this: Carbon dioxide evaporates easily Water is ice It would have been leached out over billions of years,” Kelly said. Another option, he said. Comet reading It would have formed in the Solar System, where there was no carbon dioxide, especially in a hot pocket.

Beyond that, the next step is to conduct an investigation Comet reading To see how it compares to others Kites Of the main belt, says Heidi Hammel, an astronomer at the Association of Universities for Astronomical Research (AURA), head of the Webb’s Guaranteed Time Observing Program for Solar System Objects and co-author of the study. “These asteroid belt objects are small and faint James web Finally let’s see what happens with them and draw some conclusions. Are other main belt comets also carbon dioxide free? Either way, it will be exciting to find out,” Hamel said.

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Co-author Milam envisions the possibilities of bringing research even closer to our planet. “Now that web has confirmed its existence Aqua Closely guarded like the asteroid belt, it will be exciting to follow up this discovery with sample collection work and see what scientists can tell us. Kites of the main belt”. (Europa Press)

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