In the search for life, one feature stand out as hard to find. Water. Find water. Find life. In a solar system only 100 light years from Earth, researchers have spotted this building block. That building block may not sound like much: just a single asteroid containing a lot of water. But it’s this same type of asteroid that may have brought water to earth when it was first being formed. And this marks the first time that such an asteroid has been detected outside our own solar system — indicating that this far-off realm may once have been home to habitable planets.
Asteroids are the Legos that go into planets. Thousands and thousands of asteroids come together to create a planet. But the process of putting them together is inefficient. You don’t use up all of the pieces.
Scientist have spotted evidence of asteroid bits still speckling in that solar system. But the odds that any remaining planets there still sustain life as we know it are slim: the system’s sun, GD 61, is a white dwarf — a burning out star in the final throes of life.
The team found that over a quarter of the asteroid’s mass must have been from water — a quantity that drastically eclipses the Earth’s surface water mass of just .02 percent. It’s also just about identical to how much water many expect that we’ll find on Ceres, the largest asteroid in our own solar system,