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First Ever Proof Of Water On Asteroids

For the first time, water molecules have been detected on the surface of two asteroids.


( Signs of water on the surface of two silicate-rich asteroids, called Iris and Massalia. )

Scientists studied four silicate-rich asteroids using data gathered by the now-retired Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a telescope-outfitted plane operated by NASA and the German Aerospace Center.

Observations by SOFIA's Faint Object InfraRed Camera (FORCAST) instrument showed that two of the asteroids — named Iris and Massalia — exhibit a specific wavelength of light that indicated the presence of water molecules at their surface.

Science fiction fans of Golden Age great Raymond Z. Gallun may recall the atom-driven drill from the ominously-named story Asteroid of Fear, used to recover water from deep below the surface of Vesta:

The next task prescribed by the Homesteaders' School was to secure a supply of air and water in quantity. Again, following the instructions they had received, the Endlichs uncrated and set up an atom-driven drill. In an hour it had bored to a depth of five-hundred feet. Hauling up the drill, Endlich lowered an electric heating unit on a cable from an atomic power-cell, and then capped the casing pipe.

Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.
(Read more about atom-driven asteroid drill)

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