Astronomers have discovered the presence of water on the surface of asteroids

There are different objects in the solar system – planets and their moons, comets and asteroids. The number of the latter, according to estimates, may reach about one million. It has been orbiting the Sun for billions of years, and until now it was thought that the water on it, if it existed at all, should have evaporated long ago. However, new research using data from the SOFIA observatory has shown the presence of water on the asteroids Eris and Massalia.

The description and results of the research were published in “The Planetary Science Journal” (DOI: 10.3847/PSJ/ad18b8).


SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) will be decommissioned in 2022. It was an aircraft-mounted telescope. The observations were made at an altitude of more than 12,000 metres, because at low altitudes, water vapor absorbs infrared radiation, and SOFIA worked in this radiation range.

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