James Webb Space Telescope discovers water around a mysterious comet.

The James Webb Space Telescope has spotted water around a rare comet located in the main asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars. 

The observation represents another scientific breakthrough for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), representing the first time that gas, in this case, water vapor, has been detected around a comet in the main asteroid belt. This is important as it shows that water in the early solar system could have been preserved as ice in the main asteroid belt.

The discovery of water vapor around Comet 238P/Read could significantly boost theories that water, a vital ingredient for life, was delivered to our planet from space by comets. But the study of the comet has also delivered a mystery: Carbon dioxide, which astronomers expected to see, is missing from Comet 238P/Read.

The seeming lack of carbon dioxide around Comet 238P/Read was more surprising to the team than the discovery of water vapor, as this compound has been previously calculated to make up as much as 10% of the volatile matter in comets that is easily boiled off by the sun. 

The team said that there are two possible reasons why Comet 238P/Read may be missing carbon dioxide. For one, the comet may have had carbon dioxide during its formation, which it has lost thanks to warming by the sun. 

Source: www.space.com


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