A second asteroid, 65 Cybeles, has been found to contain water ice. In April of this year, water ice and organics were found on 24 Themis, a 200-kilometer wide asteroid (http://nasa.orau.org/postdoc/about-fellows/pinilla-alonso.htm). Asteroid 65 Cybele is larger than asteroid 24 Themis, with a diameter of 290 km (180 miles). Both asteroids are located in the asteroid belt, halfway between Mars and Jupiter.
Now, the same team of astronomers, including N. Pinilla-Alonso and D. P. Cruikshank from NASA Ames, has found similar materials on asteroid 65 Cybele.
These discoveries suggest that this region of our solar system contains more water ice than anticipated and supports the theory that asteroids may have hit Earth and brought our planet its water and the building blocks for life to form and evolve here.
The study on 65 Cybeles’ surface composition will be publish in Astronomy & Astrophysics and is already available in its section of “forthcoming” papers (http://www.aanda.org/articles/aa/pdf/forth/aa15339-10.pdf).
Artists concept of an asteroid around a planetary body. Credit: Gabriel P rez, Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, Spain