What's the Latest?
A new study which explores impact craters in Argentine soil has found ancient remnants of plant life suggesting that asteroid strikes act to preserve evidence of life long after it has passed away. The asteroid strikes in question occurred in Argentina 3 and 9 million years ago. Leaf fragments were discovered by Brown University researchers to be cased in glass created by the initial explosion in which thick rock was turned instantly molten. "The fragile plant matter in these glass samples was exquisitely preserved down to the cellular level," in a process similar to deep-frying food, said the researchers.
What's the Big Idea?
Explorers looking for evidence of past life, probably in the form of microbes, would do well to examine impact craters on the surface of Mars as well as other planets. Not only does the event of an asteroid strike help preserve evidence of life, but additional data suggests asteroid strikes may even create favorable conditions for some life forms. "Impacts on a water-rich planet like Earth or even Mars can generate hydrothermal activity — that is, underwater areas boiling with heat. Seafloor hot springs known as hydrothermal vents more than a mile beneath the ocean's surface can be home to thriving ecosystems on Earth..."
Read more at Space
Photo credit: Shutterstock