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Shock Waves Through the Solar Nebula Could Explain Water-Rich Space Rocks

Shock waves through icy parts of the solar nebula could well be the mechanism that enriched meteorites with water — water that some believe provided an otherwise dry Earth with oceans, according to a new study published in today’s issue (Jan. 24) of Science.
Scientists have long debated how “chondrules” might have formed. Chondrules are millimeter-sized blobs of once-melted minerals found within chondritic meteorites, which are thought to be the oldest objects in the solar system. In some of these meteorites, chondrules are rimmed by fine silicate dust particles that have reacted with water.

Scientists catch their first elusive ‘dark’ gamma-ray burst

Scientists racing the clock have snapped a photo of a gamma-ray burst event one minute after the explosion, capturing for the first time a particularly fast-fading type of “dark” burst, which comprises about half of all gamma-ray bursts. A gamma-ray burst announces the birth of a new black hole; it is the most powerful type of explosion known, second only to the Big Bang in total energy release. This latest finding may double the number of gamma-ray bursts available for study and rattle a few theories as well, said scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, based on an X-ray image taken by the MIT-built High Energy Transient Explorer (HETE) satellite, the first satellite dedicated to spotting gamma-ray bursts.