Everybody is used to the idea that an asteroid collision will generate destruction, earthquakes, and sorrow if it hits in a civilized area. But how many of you ever considered the hypothesis that it could also help life itself to evolve in more various and unpredictable ways, or transform the climate in being more unfriendly for us? This is precisely what new research published in Science Advances suggests.
It’s actually about the dust from the collisions
Scientists involved in the study concluded that a very violent asteroid collision occurred 468 million years ago beyond the orbit of Mars may have helped in the evolution of life on Earth and change the climate so it can prepare our planet for an ice age. Of course, you will probably ask how is it possible for a collision that far away to drastically influence events happening on Earth. Well, it’s the dust which came from the collision that changed everything.
The dust of an asteroid collision can also cause global climate cooling
Birger Schmitz, the leader of the research team and a professor of geology at Lund University in Sweden, supports the idea for climate becoming more unfriendly to life on Earth due to asteroid dust. He takes one step further, suggesting that humans can even control their own climate in the future by using nothing else than dust from asteroids.
How did the scientists conclude such a remarkable thing?
The great Ordovician biodiversification event has been for a long time a right debating subject for the scientific community. Marine invertebrate families became three times more during a period of global cooling, and complex forms of life began to emerge in the oceans. This all seems to have happened 466 million years ago, more or less in the same period with the asteroid impact beyond Mars. Therefore, the Earth’s atmosphere was bombarded with the debris from the collision, and the sunlight has been blocked, resulting in an imminent global cooling or ice age.
Schmitz says, “we are of course also interested to see whether any of the other major ice age episodes, like Snowball Earth, perhaps were triggered by asteroid dust.”
Even the birth of life on Earth could’ve been possible due to a similar asteroid collision
Panspermia is one of the scientific theories which explain how life on our planet could have first appeared. It states that the first amino acids, which are the building blocks for all life forms, including plants or bacteria, may have been brought to Earth from outer space by comets. Therefore, you have another reason to believe that an impact with another celestial object can’t necessarily drive only to destruction.
Of course, the greatest skeptics might say that all of these are just theories, and nobody among us could have been to Earth or beyond Mars about half a billion years ago to know for sure what happened. But the researchers’ theory seems to be compelling enough, and therefore it can’t be ignored.