Global seawater may come from the remaining asteroid and gas material from the Sun's formation, according to new research that provides insight into the development of other planets and their potential to support life.
The researchers note that because comets contain a lot of ice, they can supply water. Asteroids, which are not rich in water but still many, can be a source too.
"But there are other ways to think about water sources in the formation of the solar system," said Peter Buseck, Professor at Arizona State University.
"Because water is hydrogen plus oxygen, and oxygen is abundant, every source of hydrogen can function as the origin of Earth's water," Buseck added.
This study challenges the widely accepted idea of hydrogen in Earth's water by suggesting elements partly derived from clouds of dust and gas left after the formation of the Sun, called the sun nebula.
If the abundant hydrogen in the nebula can join the earth's rock material when it is formed, that could be the global origin of the Earth's ocean, the researchers said.
"The sun's nebula has been given the least attention among existing theories, even though it is the dominant hydrogen reservoir in our early solar system," said lead author Jun Wu, assistant research professor at the university.
This new finding fits in with the current theory of how the Sun and planets are formed. This also has implications for habitable planets outside the solar system.
Astronomers have found more than 3,800 planets orbiting other stars, and many look like rocky bodies that are not much different from our own.