A new study report published in the journal Nature Astronomy has suggested that collision with an interstellar space body named Theia had brought life to the earth. Until now, scientists believed that Theia was a rogue body that originated in the inner solar system, but a recent study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Münster (Germany) has found that Theia came from the outer solar system.
The new research report revealed that water came to Earth with the formation of the Moon some 4.4 billion years ago following a cosmic collision. It should be noted that earth lies in the inner solar system, and it is pretty much a shocker that the planet holds water. To explain this, researchers studied the conditions of the solar system before 4.4 billion years and found that carbonaceous meteorites, which are rich in water molecules came from the outer solar system. In the meantime, drier meteorites with no water content reached earth from the inner solar system.
As per the research report, Theia which is basically a carbonaceous protoplanet that came from the outer space delivered water on the earth.
"We have used molybdenum isotopes to answer this question. The molybdenum isotopes allow us to clearly distinguish carbonaceous and non-carbonaceous material, and as such represent a 'genetic fingerprint' of material from the outer and inner solar system," said Dr. Gerrit Budde, a researcher at the Institute of Planetology in Münster and lead author of the study in a recent statement.
The research report also added that this ancient collision of the earth with Theia has resulted in the formation of the moon. As the formation of the moon and origination of water happened in the same timeline, Thorsten Kleine, Professor of Planetology at the University of Münster revealed that without earth's natural satellite, there would be no life on the earth.
"Our approach is unique because, for the first time, it allows us to associate the origin of water on Earth with the formation of the Moon. To put it simply, without the Moon there probably would be no life on Earth," said Kleine.
Even though a mysterious space body had brought life to the earth, space experts believe that such a collision in the future could also end life on the planet forever. To combat such a scenario, NASA, the United States space agency is busy developing a planetary defense weapon that could protect the earth from rogue space body hits.