James Webb continues to explore space, and now astronomers have discovered water vapor on a comet using the space-based super telescope.
Comet 238P/Read is located in the main asteroid belt, the large asteroid belt situated between Mars and Jupiter, approximately 200-300 million kilometers from Earth. Based on the observed water vapor around the comet, it is believed to partially consist of ice. This is the first time astronomers have observed water vapor around a comet in the asteroid belt, providing evidence that water can exist as ice in the region. Scientists say this is a breakthrough as it can help them understand how water once arrived on Earth.
– Our water-soaked world, teeming with life and unique in the universe as far as we know, is something of a mystery – we’re not sure how all this water got here. Understanding the history of water distribution in the Solar System will help us to understand other planetary systems, and if they could be on their way to hosting an Earth-like planet, säger Stefanie Milam, Webb Deputy Project Scientist for Planetary Science
Above is an illustration of Comet 238P/Read, and below is an image of the comet captured by the James Webb Telescope’s NIRCam (Near-InfraRed Camera). Below, you will also find a video clip from Ted-Ed discussing various theories about how water may have reached Earth in the past.