Washington: Scientists who made national headlines in April for showing the first evidence of water ice and organic molecules on an asteroid have now discovered that asteroid 65 Cybele contains the same material.
Their discovery suggests that water ice on asteroids may be more common than expected.
"This discovery suggests that this region of our solar system contains more water ice than anticipated. And it supports the theory that asteroids may have hit Earth and brought our planet its water and the building blocks for life to form and evolve here," said University of Central Florida Professor Humberto Campins.
Asteroid 65 Cybele is somewhat larger than asteroid 24 Themis – the subject of the teams`` first paper. Cybele has a diameter of 290 km (180 miles). Themis has a diameter of 200 km (124 miles). Both are in the same region of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
The academic article reporting this new finding has been accepted for publication in the European Journal "Astronomy and Astrophysics."
Campins will present the teams`` findings during the 42nd-annual Division of Planetary Sciences Conference in Pasadena, Calif., which concludes Oct. 8.