Physicist Suggests Earth's Water May Come from Comets

Tong Yun

PureInsight | February 3, 2003

[] Li Bai, the famous poet from the Tang Dynasty had this line in one of his poems, "Look there! The waters of the Yellow River coming down from Heaven."

According to a recent CNN report [1], a University of Iowa physicist researcher concluded that thousands of comets the size of small houses enter the Earth's atmosphere everyday, and they may account for all the planet's water. Once these comets enter the atmosphere, they break up and turn into water vapor. Photographs capturing the Earth at such a moment show dark spots shadowed by water vapor. These photographs can help identify the size and number of such water-bearing comets that enter the Earth's atmosphere. Physicist Louis Frank told CNN reporters that they found objects coming in at about the rate of twenty every minute or one every three seconds. He also said the typical comet looked like a small two-bedroom house and it weighed twenty to forty tons.

Professor Frank used NASA satellites to capture these pictures. He first publicized his research results in 1986.

He told CNN reporters that this relatively gentle "cosmic rain" may account for the sole source of water on Earth.

NASA has reportedly taken Dr. Frank's research seriously. NASA official Steve Maran told CNN that although much research was still needed to fully understand these comets, it was obvious that they contained a large amount of water.

A hard ice shell surrounds these loosely packed "snowballs." When the comets enter the Earth's atmosphere, the snowballs break up and become water vapor. Unlike larger comets, they don't contain dust or metal. As a result, they are not bright as the larger comets are when traveling through the air. Since they break apart at altitudes above 965 km, they are not a threat to humans or aircraft.

Professor Frank is continuing his research [2]. His discovery has provided us with insight and inspiration. During its long history, the Earth has been incessantly redefined by external objects, some of which may have resulted in massive extinction of species [3]. The discovery of the source of the Earth's water adds another layer of mystery to the origin of man.



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