What type of water is in space? Is it fresh water or salt water?”
You’ve asked a very interesting question, one I’m happy to answer!
With Hydrogen and Helium being the two most abundant elements in our Universe, it’s no surprise that many gas-filled regions of interstellar space are for the most part, Hydrogen. If a cloud of dust and gas is cool enough to form molecules, we refer to it as a Molecular Cloud. Molecular Clouds are often “enriched” by neighboring supernova explosions which add elements heavier than Hydrogen and Helium to the mix.
Astronomers actually study molecular clouds by looking for the chemical signature of Carbon Monoxide ( CO ) since molecular Hydrogen ( H2 ) is difficult to detect with radio and infra-red telescopes.
Of course, H2 and CO aren’t the only molecules found in Molecular Clouds. With Oxygen being the third most common element in our galaxy after Hydrogen and Helium, the chances of H2 combining with Oxygen to form water ( H2O ) are pretty reasonable.
A recent image released by NASA/JPL shows the Mars Exploration Rover “Opportunity” shows the dust that has built up on the rover’s solar panels as Opportunity enters its fifth Martian winter. Dust accumulation reduces the available power to the rover, so the rover has been parked until the end of the martian winter, or when a wind based “cleaning event” occurs.
Carnival of Space #241 is available at Starry Critters!
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In my pursuit of all things astronomical, it’s understandable that I’m a bit of an amateur astronomer. When I bought my telescope and mount, astrophotography was my primary consideration. Mind you, my goal wasn’t to make APOD – it was simply to have an outlet to share what I look at with everyone else.
KOI-961 is a red dwarf star about 70% larger than Jupiter, located in Cygnus and is about 130 light-years from Earth. Recent studies of the KOI-961 system by the Kepler mission have detected three small exoplanets. The smallest exoplanet in the system is KOI-961.03, and is furthest from the host star.
Depicted in the foreground of the above image, KOI-961.O3 is about the size of Mars. Shown in the upper right is KOI-961.01, which is a world with just under 80% of Earth’s radius. Lastly, KOI-961.02, which is the closest to the host star, is a bit smaller than KOI-961.01 at just under 75% of Earth’s radius.
None of the detected worlds are considered “habitable”, as the habitable zone for the KOI-961 system is far beyond the orbits of the detected planets. The orbital periods of all three planets are less than two Earth days – the closest orbits the parent sun in less than twelve hours! Given the short distance from their host star, the surface temperatures are estimated to be in the 176 to 447 degrees Celsius range.
If you’d like to learn more about the Kepler mission, visit: http://kepler.nasa.gov/
Source: NASA Image Gallery