How Earth Life Could Come Back from a Sterilizing Asteroid Impact

Mike Wall |
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Ejected rocks could serve as microbial lifeboats.

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"Supervillains take note: Even the biggest and baddest asteroids may not be 100% effective as doomsday devices," writes Mike Wall for Ben Weiss is part of the discussion around how microbes carried on ejected bits of planetary bodies could possibly seed life on neighboring planets, based on research he presented at the Breakthrough Discuss conference. "Work by Weiss and his colleagues suggests that at least some Mars meteorites experienced surprisingly low maximum temperatures when they were launched from their planets — meaning they were likely not sterilized." So, cross-fertilization is possible.

Watch the talks here. Weiss's discussion begins at 3:01:00.

Story Image: Artist’s impression of a 6-mile-wide asteroid— the size of the dinosaur-killing object — striking the Earth. (Credit: © Don Davis)