As space agencies and private space companies like SpaceX are busy formulating plans for future interplanetary colonization, a new study funded by NASA has suggested that humans could one day survive in space. Scientists made this suggestion after figuring out how water molecules can be regenerated in asteroids moving across space.
The study report published in the journal Nature Astronomy shows how water can be replenished on asteroid's surface if both solar winds and impacting meteors come together at a very low temperature.
During the study, researchers found that two components of the space weathering; electrons and thermal shock are necessary to maintain the supply of water molecules across the surface of an asteroid. It should be noted that previous studies had suggested just one component of space weathering is necessary to maintain supplies of water on asteroids.
Dr Katarina Miljkovic, a researcher at the Curtin University's Space Science and Technology Centre who led the study revealed that this complex process to regenerate water molecules can be adopted to replenish water on space bodies that include the moon. Miljkovic also added that the availability of water in space is a key factor that ensures habitability in space.
"This complex process to regenerate surface water molecules could also be a possible mechanism to replenish water supplies on other airless bodies, such as the moon. This research finding has potentially significant implications. We all know the availability of water in the solar system is an extremely important element for habitability in space," said Miljkovic, Phys.org reports.
This study report was co-authored by experts at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa and California State University San Marcos.
In the meantime, NASA is busy preparing a planetary defense weapon to protect the planet from future asteroid hits, and the main threat from the space being asteroid Apophis that could fly within 19,000 miles of earth's surface. The plan formulated by the United States space agency is to deflect the asteroid from its current course using a large spacecraft.