LIFE on Earth could have started in craters after a huge meteor strike, according to a new study.
An ancient impact is thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs but scientists now think an even earlier collision could have created life in the first place.
The new study challenges common theories about how life began[/caption]
The theory that meteorites could carry the ingredients necessary for life has been around for a while.
However, a new study suggests impact craters have the ideal conditions for life to emerge.
The researchers think space agencies should use their findings to take a closer look at craters on Mars.
Professor Gordon Osinski tweeted: “We conclude this paper with the recommendation that impact craters should be considered as prime sites in the search for evidence of past life on #Mars!”
Osinski explained: “If you ask anyone to imagine what happens when you have kilometre-size chunks of rock hitting the Earth, it’s typically destructive.
“It’s an extinction event like the one that killed the dinosaurs.
“What we’re trying to do here is turn that idea up on its head and say yes, the impact is initially destructive, but it also delivers the building blocks for life and creates new habitats for life.
“They [impact craters] essentially create an oasis for life.”
The scientists showed the initial inhospitable environment of an impact crater[/caption]
They also showed how the crater can become a nutrient rich habitat as it cools[/caption]
Meteor impacts initially create an inhospitable environment.
However, when things settle down, there could be life supporting sediments, nutrients and freshly created hydrothermal vents.
Unfortunately, the evidence we need to try and prove life on Earth came from craters may have eroded away.
Osinski said: “Unfortunately, due to billions of years of erosion, plate tectonics, and volcanism, we’ve lost the vast majority of the ancient rock record on Earth.
“So we’re never going to know exactly where or even when, to be honest, life originated on Earth.”
That doesn’t mean searching for signs of life in Mars’s craters has to be ruled out though.
The study has been published in Astrobiology.
Why did the dinosaurs die out?
Here's what you need to know…
- The dinosaur wipe-out was a sudden mass extinction event on Earth
- It wiped out roughly three-quarters of our planet’s plant and animal species around 66million years ago
- This event marked the end of the Cretaceous period, and opened the Cenozoic Era, which we’re still in today
- Scientists generally believe that a massive comet or asteroid around 9 miles wide crashed into Earth, devastating the planet
- This impact is said to have sparked a lingering “impact winter”, severely harming plant life and the food chain that relied on it
- More recent research suggests that this impact “ignited” major volcanic activity, which also led to the wiping-out of life
- Some research has suggested that dinosaur numbers were already declining due to climate changes at the time
- But a study published in March 2019 claims that dinosaurs were likely “thriving” before the extinction event
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In other space news, a huge asteroid is set to make a close approach to Earth next week.
Nasa has revealed an amazing snapshot of a supernova blast wave.
And, wormholes that let humans travel through space and time could be possible, scientists have proposed.
What do you think of the meteor strike theory? Let us know in the comments…
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