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WW is for water. Water as a chemical compound is in massive supply in the universe, as a molecule of water is made up of two atoms of hydrogen (the most abundant element in the universe) and one of oxygen (the second most abundant element that forms chemical compounds.) The search for water as a possible precursor of life is based on a particular state of water: liquid, which requires a rare combination of temperature and pressure. Water ice and water vapor, both of which occur as well as liquid water on Earth, are probably far more abundant in the universe.

Water can, or course, snuff out our form of life as well as being necessary for its existence, as shown in this excerpt from Rescue Operation.

Hastily Tod slipped out of the room and kept his slight body to the shadows, now impenetrable, until he was able to get to the branch of the river he wanted.

He took a deep breath and waded out into the ink-dark water. Wading depth, yes — but he found a hole — by stepping in it — halfway across. It hadn’t looked deep, he thought as he floundered in darkness, trying to hold his breath. But which way was up? He flailed out and hit something, but he couldn’t tell if it was above or below him. Something massive bumped into him, but it was gone before he could grab it. He had to breathe!

He hit his head on something, and this time managed to grab hold. But which way? What was it? Branches? They wouldn’t be growing on the bottom, would they? Cold touched his face and he gasped for air. A floating branch? Could it keep him afloat? He was coughing, but his head was in air. Blessed air!

He was holding a large, leafy branch, and when his coughing eased, he saw brush and trees, dim in the starlight, sliding to the right ahead of him.

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