‘A sprinkling of stardust is as magical as it sounds. The dust grains that float through our solar system contain tiny pockets of water, which form when they are zapped by a blast of charged wind from the sun.
The chemical reaction causing this to happen had previously been mimicked in laboratories, but this is the first time water has been found trapped inside real stardust.
Combined with previous findings of organic compounds in interplanetary dust, the results suggest that these grains contain the basic ingredients needed for life. As similar dust grains are thought to be found in solar systems all over the universe, this bodes well for the existence of life across the cosmos.
“The implications are potentially huge,” says Hope Ishii of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, one of the researchers behind the study. “It is a particularly thrilling possibility that this influx of dust on the surfaces of solar system bodies has acted as a continuous rainfall of little reaction vessels containing both the water and organics needed for the eventual origin of life.”’