Specks of dust retrieved by a Japanese space probe from an a…

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Specks of dust retrieved by a Japanese space probe from an asteroid some 300 million kilometres from Earth have revealed a surprising component: a drop of water, scientists said Friday

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  1. First and foremost, I want to point out that when I was a kid in the 90s, we had no idea water was so prevalent in space.

    Second, even though we know water does exist in space, the form in which we discover it (solid vs liquid) is important, as well as the type of water it is. Heavy water, for example is very different from regular garden variety water.

  2. It’s amusing to see so many folks in such a hurry to prove they’re smarter than the scientists.

    Y’all, the surprise is not that H20 was found. Like you’ve said, that’s abundant in space. The surprise is _liquid_ water. Fluid, not ice. Fluid water, with dissolved carbon compounds, existing in space is evidence that complex organic molecules _could_ have formed in space and been seeded onto the early earth. That’s long been one theory for abiogenesis — how life started from nonliving matter — but until now we haven’t had a lot of evidence for it; one of the major counterarguments has been that if all the water in space was locked up as ice, it’s hard to see how it could have happened.

    Now, sure, the newspaper writer telling us all this could have been clearer. But I’m not sure anybody read anything but the headline.

    [Here’s the page for Tomoki Nakamura’s lab.](http://www.es.tohoku.ac.jp/EN/research_group/epms03.html)

  3. The finding of water in a fluid form is pretty interesting. The saltiness of the water likely prevents it from subliming into space at these low pressures an the relatively high temperatures of the inner solar system. The article doesn’t really specify if the water is trapped in the rocks, which would help too. The surprising part is that it could remain without baking out from exposure to sunlight and warm temperatures for very long time periods.

  4. For people confused why this is significant, I found this quote in a different article:

    “It is the first-ever discovery of water that takes a liquid form at room temperature from any sample collected outside Earth.”

  5. 10 minutes before the discovery in the lab:

    Scientist 1: I bet 15,000 yens that you can’t lick that rock in the table.
    Scientist 2: “deal. ” puts it in his mouth.

    8 minutes before the discovery:
    Scientist 1 is applying heimlich maneuver to Scientist 2.

    7 minutes before the discovery:
    Scientist 2 is on the floor, breathing heavily. Scientist 1 is on the floor, searching for the space rock frantically.

    6 minutes before discovery:
    Scientist 1 is washing the floor dust and spit from the space rock.

    5 minutes before discovery;
    The director enters the lab. Looks at two scientists with red, sweaty faces. “OK guys we are ready to analyze the rock.”

  6. This has the makings of an symbiotic life form movie taking over or planet while we underestimate the risk of organic matter in the ice water

  7. So, there’s a face shield and umpire chest thingo in case of chestbursters, but that is not really the PPE I would expect for a potential biohazard retrieval.