Early accretion of water in the inner solar system from a carbonaceous chondrite–like source

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Science  31 Oct 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6209, pp. 623-626
DOI: 10.1126/science.1256717

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History recorded in asteroid's water

Astronomers know that interstellar water is abundantly available to young planetary systems—our blue planet collected (or accreted) plenty of it. Still, the details of water's movement in the inner solar system are elusive. Sarafian et al. measured water isotopes in meteorite samples from the asteroid Vesta for clues to the timing of water accretion. Their samples have the same isotopic fingerprint of volatiles as both Earth and carbonaceous chondrites, some of the most primitive meteorites. The findings suggest that Earth received most of its water relatively early from chondrite-like bodies.

Science, this issue p. 623

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