• The concept of recycling used on the ISS may solve the problem of water shortage not only on Earth but in a future interstellar travelling.

  • Some of the water on the moon has been imported from without by the nuclei of comets, the part was formed by chemical reactions under the influence of the solar wind.

  • In the water on the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko deuterium occupied the place of hydrogen. The same situation is observed for all the comets from the Oort cloud.

  • Most recently the Japanese probe Akatsuki, being in orbit of Venus, downlinked the latest photos. One of the objectives of the mission was to compare Venus to our planet, to understand the causes of climate change.

  • The Mars Rover Curiosity managed to find the bed of former rivers, smooth stones, polished by the water, the minerals, the formation of which is impossible without the participation of the water and the craters that were once large lakes.

  • On Europe, small by the standards of space ball, the ocean of salt water exists. It was possible to prove on the basis of data obtained by NASA's Galileo mission (1989 to 2003).

  • In size exoplanet Kepler-438b is just 12 percent more than Earth, but the conditions for plant growth there are even better.

  • In the near future scientists are going to examine three of the protoplanetary disks, and they predict water to be found on each of them.

  • The study of cold clouds in the future will help to understand the role water plays in the formation of stars and planets.

Water and Space: Oceans Among Emptiness

Still Watergallery traveled only on the Earth. But why not to make the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy, figuring out how things work with water in the farthest corners of the Universe? Fasten your seat belts and, as Gagarin said, go!

1. ISS. Let's start with the near space, more precisely with the International space station. Constant references to recycling and the figment of imagination of science fiction can make you think that the astronauts always had the system of full water recirculation. And actually, it was only introduced in 2008. Prior to that, cosmonauts carried water into orbit from Earth, and human wastes were dumped into space. On space stations Mir and Salyut water could be condensed out of the air. There was also a reverse process – getting air by electrolysis.

Today the ISS does not lose a single unnecessary drop. Absolutely all moisture, including condensation from breathing, falls into the recirculation system. Of course, constantly thinking about drinking such water may be somehow uncomfortable. However, the evidence suggests that such water is much cleaner than the one that drinks most of the inhabitants of the Earth. As the astronauts joke: "We just turn yesterday's coffee into tomorrow's one."

2. The moon. Let's turn from orbit to our nearest neighbor – the moon. The ancient Greeks, looking at the craters of the moon, had advanced the hypothesis that they are the traces of the once dried-up seas and oceans. The hypothesis was not confirmed, and until recent years, the moon was generally considered to be almost the driest place in the Solar system. But then it turned out that the water on our satellite is still there.

Scientists distinguish three types of lunar water – pure ice, mixture of ice and dirt, and a thin layer on the surface that disappears and reappears. The highest values for future colonists of the moon have craters. The reason is simple – there is not sunlight, and the water does not evaporate therefrom. For example, known reserves of moisture in the lunar glaciers of the North Pole are 600 million tons. And this is very important because getting water on the spot, lunar pioneers will save both energy and time, and space on space trucks. So, on the moon we will go light!

3. Comets and asteroids. Before talking about water in the so-called wandering celestial bodies, let us look at their differences. The comet consists of dust, gas and liquid, and the asteroid is mostly made of hard materials, but billions of years ago, the percentage of water in them was much higher. There is a very popular theory that water for the Earth came at a time when it had no atmosphere. Then cosmic bombardment of our planet was quite common, and the liquid with falling comets and asteroids gradually filled the earth's seas and oceans.

However, water on Earth and in the majority of studied comets is different. Not on the composition of the substances dissolved in it, but at the molecular level. Water from the comet is not very familiar to us H2O, the hydrogen in it is his heavy isotope deuterium. Such, for example, turned out to be water inside the open and investigated more recently, the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. And from the other studied comets compliance testing waters passed only six.

The answer was simple – the main suppliers of tailed celestial bodies in the Solar system are two space objects: the Kuiper belt and the Oort cloud. The conditions there are different, and therefore the composition of the liquid in them is different. The comets from the first contain water, the most similar in composition to Earth, but from the second arrive only samples with deuterium.

4. Venus. The water situation on this planet is full of paradoxes. The average temperature on the surface of the Morning star is 467 degrees, and the atmosphere is composed almost entirely of carbon dioxide. For comparison – in the Earth's atmosphere it is only about 0.04% and this is already having an impact on global warming. The volume of water on Venus is about 50 thousand times smaller than on the earth, but even if these numbers were identical, the moisture would still evaporate. Giant clouds of water vapor would keep the excess heat in the atmosphere of the planet where, to put it mildly, is already pretty hot, would have turned into a hellish Inferno at a temperature of over 1000 degrees and a pressure of 350 bar (exactly 350 times larger than on the earth).

But theoretically using terraforming of Venus can make a planet-resort with warm and humid climate. We need only to put between Venus and the huge Sun a shield, diverting the excess heat. Then strike a massive blow to its surface by huge blocks of ice. It will spin the Morning star to the desired speed and deliver the necessary water. Well, let's hope that these ambitious plans will ever be implemented.

5. Mars. Ancient philosophers opposed Mars and Venus not for nothing. Indeed, in contrast to the heat on Venus, the temperature on the red planet does not exceed 20 degrees on the equator. Average rates are around minus 50 degrees. Thanks to modern research, with absolute precision is known – the water exists on the Red planet. And we can say that in proportion its amount is only 2-3 times smaller than on the earth. Of course, seas and oceans were splashing among the Martian landscapes long time ago (from 3.5 to 1 billion years). Now the bulk of the moisture is concentrated at the poles by analogy with our Arctic and Antarctica. Also considerable reserves of water were found in the Martian permafrost, called the cryosphere. Its thickness varies from several to several hundreds of meters. And, quite possibly, its hiding giant lakes with salt water.6. Europe. This, of course, is not of an earthly continent, it's about the companion of planet-giant the Jupiter. The giant planets consist mainly of gas and dust, which makes them unattractive in terms of finding water. But small satellites are of interest.

In fact, Europe is one big ice rink – it's all fairly smooth surface covered with ice. Its thickness ranges from 10 to 30 km, and beneath this shell is a real ocean, with a depth of 100 km. Rocks under the water layer and metal core in which active tectonic processes occur, do not allow Europe to freeze completely. This fact is also contributed by the constant ebb and flow. It turns out that the ocean, moving, heats itself. It is due to the presence of liquid water on Europa could exist living organisms – even microscopic, but our neighbors in the Universe.

7. Exoplanets. Strictly speaking, the term exoplanet refers to any planet, open outside the Solar system. But we are only interested in planets potentially fit to live in, where, quite possibly, splashing water and the warmth of life.

To date, only about two dozen of such planets are known. A real breakthrough in this area science has made, starting in March 2009 to orbit a telescope Kepler. And now, after six years, in January 2015 it was announced that the exoplanet was found, the respective earth parameters at 90%. Potential second home for humanity is located in the constellation Lyra, 470 light years from the sun and is called Kepler-438b. The planet is located in the so-called habitable zone. This means that with high probability there is liquid water.

8. Protoplanetary discs. Not using scientific language, we can say that the protoplanetary disks are the embryos of planets. They are dense gas clouds that rotate around its axis, gradually tensing up and becoming a young planet. They appear around the newly formed, cold stars, and the nobody noticed availability of water until an international group of scientists under the leadership of Dutchman Michael Hoogerheide begun to research using the orbital telescope Herschel. Study area is located in the constellation of Hydra, at a distance of 175 light years from Earth. According to astronomers, the volume of water (or rather ice) inside the proto-planet is 9 billion tons, which would fill several of the earth's oceans.

9. Cold clouds. This beautiful, almost poetic name hides not less pictorial creations. The cold cloud is a remote area of the galaxy, where you do not get light and heat of stars. Water is present, mainly in the form of ice deposited on the fine particles of cosmic dust. The mass of such clouds may equal the weight of a thousand Suns, and the weight of the water is the mass of hundreds of Jupiters. There are about one million such areas in our galaxy. It is the discovery of cold clouds led to the conclusion that water is the third most abundant substance in the Universe. The temperature inside such clouds is about minus 263 degrees, just 10 degrees above absolute zero.

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