Traces of water discovered 370 light years away
Belgian researchers have discovered traces of water in the disc surrounding a star located 370 light years away, which calls into question certain theories about the Universe that were taken for granted.
Researchers from the University of Liège, part of the international research group Minds, observed the young star PDS 70, located 370 light years from Earth, with the James Webb telescope. By studying the so-called circumstellar disks that give rise to the planets orbiting around this star, they discovered traces of water.
However, until now it was thought that water on rocky planets, such as Earth, was very rare. But now we have proof that water may be more common than we thought.
This Belgian discovery published in the scientific journal Nature therefore suggests that rocky planets could have a large reservoir of water which could allow the subsequent emergence of life.
According to Valentin Christiaens, FNRS researcher at ULiège and co-author of this publication, "this discovery is exceptional because it is the first detection of water in a relatively evolved disk and the first detection of water in a disk containing planets in forming”.
This observation inevitably calls into question the commonly accepted theory according to which water would have arrived on our planet thanks to the strikes of asteroids carrying water. It now seems possible that water was present when the Earth was formed.
Since water is essential to life, its much more likely presence on other planets certainly also reinforces the relevance of searching for extraterrestrial life in the Universe.