The rock that ended dinosaurs was much more than a dinosaur killer

Dr Gulick also noted that the study highlighted the dangers posed by asteroids over time, including the risks facing our planet-bound civ...


Dr Gulick also noted that the study highlighted the dangers posed by asteroids over time, including the risks facing our planet-bound civilization. Chicxulub’s impact and the fate of the dinosaurs are frequently cited as the ultimate argument both for investing in planetary defense research and for expanding our species beyond Earth. (Although it is interesting to note that other worlds, including Mars, are not free from large-scale asteroid impacts.)

But Chicxulub also sheds light on some of the most evocative questions about the emergence of life. Dr Kring has long been fascinated by this subject and has helped produce a wealth of research on microbial ecosystems which arose in the aftermath of the apocalyptic event.

“There is an argument which states that this type of bombardment is involved not only in the disruption of the evolution of life, but in fact involved in the origin of life on our planet,” he said. . “Understanding these processes is important, and our best measures of some of these consequences on Earth will come from the youngest of these impactors, like Chicxulub, because the evidence is stronger. “

The mission Dr. Gulick helped lead continues to clarify the role of impact as a destroyer and melting pot of life. As researchers probed the depths of the buried Doomsday event, they found traces of dust the impactor, tsunami sandy surf he had created and the fossilized remains of organizations that have flourished as a result.

Perhaps most surprisingly, a study published this summer described the modern microbial descendants of these early adopters of craters, still living in the shadow of the disaster that was colonized by their ancestors.

“It’s amazing to me that you can make an impact and generate an ecosystem, and then 66 million years later you still have life present there because of that previous condition,” said Dr. Gulick. “On a larger scale, you may be able to generate habitats with impacts very early in Earth’s history and then make ecosystems survive. It reflects one of the ways you could start life. “

In that sense, the Chicxulub impactor does have galactic implications as a time capsule of both a biological disaster and the birth of new life. Other life-bearing worlds across the Milky Way could be similarly shaped by asteroid impacts, with stories of destruction and recovery all their own.

“It’s a problem that potentially goes far beyond the extinction of the dinosaurs,” said Dr Kring.

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Newsrust - US Top News: The rock that ended dinosaurs was much more than a dinosaur killer
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