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The Sound of Science - 'The Water Cycle'

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JEREMY: Happy New Years, WNIJ Listeners! The Sound of Science is back and we’ve got a fun year planned for the show. Our listener Evan T. wants to know when water first appeared on Earth, how it got here, and what triggered the start of the water cycle. 

JASMINA: Let’s start at the very beginning. When did water first appear on Earth?  

JEREMY: This may shock you, but we don’t actually know. The origin of water on Earth is a widely debated topic. For a period of time, a lot of people believed Earth’s water came from an asteroid in the asteroid belt called Vesta. This is because Vesta’s water isotopes looked similar to the ones we have on Earth. 

JASMINA: In case you don’t know, an isotope is a variation of an element that has the same number of protons as a specific element, but a variation in the number of neutrons… 

JEREMY: As technology advanced, it became clear that Vesta’s water was similar to Earth’s, but distinctly different. However, there’s a lot of asteroids out in space and there’s still a good chance one of them helped bring water to Earth.  

JASMINA: So if we don’t exactly know how water originated on Earth, do we know how the water cycle started? 

JEREMY: In a way, yes. The appearance of water on Earth was what triggered start the water cycle on Earth. This is because “the water cycle” is just the name we gave to define way water and energy from the sun interact, much like how we call the force that holds our feet to the ground gravity. These phenomena weren’t invented, but rather just assigned names. 

JASMINA: Want to hear your question answered on The Sound of Science? Then email us at niusteam@niu.edu

JEREMY: This was the Sound of Science on WNIJ. 

JASMINA: Where you learn something new every day. 

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