Researchers are currently investigating how much water actually carries asteroids near the Earth. The research could tell if minerals found in cosmic rocks have "foreign" organic molecules that can sustain life or can be used as resources for other things, such as rocket fuel.
According to Space.com, scientists have observed about 20,000 cosmic rocks hovering near our planet. It is believed that they carry enough water to sustain life and serve other purposes.
"We know that minerals with water are on asteroids. We know it from meteorites that have fallen to the ground. It's also possible that water on Earth comes largely from influences, "said Andrew Rivkin, a planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland.
The research was mainly carried out to determine if water on asteroids could actually be used to create rocket fuel. This is a big advantage if it is proven because it can reduce the cost of being in space, because the rockets will no longer be burdened with the burden of carrying enough fuel for the journey.
However, the result may play a more significant role in determining whether there is enough water in these asteroids to explain how life began on our planet. The findings can support earlier research on Earth's meteorites.
For example, NASIRIS-REx NASA's space probe last year detected water on a large Bennu asteroid. The discovery supported the suggestion that water was indeed very common in the early solar system.
"This is important because we are still trying to understand how planets shape and evolve over time," said Amy Simon, a scientist at the NASA Space Flight Center in Maryland and a member of the OSIRIS-REx team, said in the NBC News report.
This finding confirms the theory that comets and asteroids, such as Bennu, are a source of water and probably organic molecules that originated life on the planet.
"These elements together are necessary to build life. All this involves understanding the early history of the Earth, "said Simon.