A drop of asteroids would have promoted the development of life on Earth

Boulder, United States - Life on Earth would have appeared 3.9 billion years ago. But researchers believe that the massive bombardment of asteroids that time had a positive impact on the earth's crust, allowing earlier life forms to thrive.

To study the period of the great late bombardment, the author of the study Abromov Oleg and his colleague Stephen Mojsis developed a new software for 3D modeling to recreate the bombing on a computer by simulating a random projection on asteroid Earth. To do this, they used data on rocks from the Moon, the samples of meteorites and the surfaces of nearby planets.

Through this simulation, the team from the University of Colorado has shown that micro-organisms living under the Earth's crust could survive and even thrive in these extreme conditions. "This opens the possibilities that life has emerged there are 4.4 billion years, when the first oceans were formed," says the magazine Abromov Nature.

The team observed the impact that the bombing had on the temperature of the habitable zone geophysics, ie the area constituting the upper 4 km of the crust. Many scientists thought that the cataclysm had completely sterilized the planet and, later, life had to start again. Oleg Abromov but contends that this event would not have killed all life on the surface of the Earth. "It is impossible to sterilize the entire habitable zone of the Earth with this type of bombing" says Abromov. The hydrothermal vents on Earth's surface would have provided a refuge for some micro-organisms adapted to heat, and have even formed a kind of "incubator" to foster the development of life.

Michael New, a NASA astrobiology of which sponsored the research, explains that the exact timing of the appearance of life on Earth is a real debate. "These discoveries are significant because they indicate that life could start well before the big late bombardment" he says.

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