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When you take a sip from your water bottle, you just might be swallowing molecules older than the sun itself. And this new discovery won't just make you think twice about the wonders of hydration -- it actually bolsters our hopes of finding life on other planets.

At some point, our solar system gained access to water -- the molecule that would one day be a vital component to life on Earth. But how did it get here? It seems like a simple question, but scientists have been puzzled until now. The biggest mystery has been the timing of water's arrival: Did it come from the same cloud of space dust that would also create our sun, or was it formed later, by chemical reactions that took place after the sun had formed?

According to a study published Thursday in Science, something like 30 to 50 percent of the water on our planet does indeed predate the sun. Researchers determined this with a model that traced deuterium, a modified form of hydrogen that forms what we call "heavy water." Based on the ratio of deuterium to hydrogen found in water on earth, scientists can estimate which chemical processes formed it -- and how that water came to be.

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