Up until now, most of us have learnt that the Earth got its water after asteroids rained down ice from the outer solar system. Now another jarring theory has come into being that suggests that the planet was born wet since the Big Bang. A new study published in Astronomy & Astrophysics attempts to study the journey of water throughout the planet formation process.
Was water on Earth before the Big Bang?
Herchel data suggests that most solar systems are already born with water that is enough to fill several thousand oceans. Similarly, it also believes that water may have been stored within the foundational rocks of the Earth in the pre-stellar stage itself and that it was initially formed as ice on interstellar clouds. The pre-stellar stage is the time before the emergence of stars, where temperatures were indefinitely cooler. The study proposes that stars and new planets only formed once these clouds collapsed.
It’s easy to question how this would have been possible with the heat of the Sun basking all along. After all, the prevailing theory that we have grown up hearing about states that any molecule of water was boiled away due to the powerful rays of the Sun and water on Earth was only possible after asteroids crashed into it. However, the researchers that collected the new data claim that the heat did boil away some of the water but most of it was preserved as water had the tendency to anchor itself into pebble-sized dust particles in the larger formation of disks that would go on to revolve around the stars and ultimately become the building block for newer planets in the space like the Earth.
Herchel study even goes as far as to state that it’s likely that the new planetary systems will be destined to the same theory and be equipped with enough water to become habitable someday. Furthermore, this theory is independent of the location of the new planets in space. This is with relevance to the 2015 study based on the data that was collected by the Hubble Space Telescope initiative of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA), which states that the Big Bang enabled only 8% possibility of creating habitable planets. The rest 92% will form over the next 6 billion years.