Most dinosaurs were wiped out 66 million years ago, but scientists are still trying to piece together exactly what caused their demise. An asteroid, at least as large as Mount Everest, struck the Earth at that time, likely leading to the extinction of all non-avian dinosaurs. However, new research suggests that volcanic activity at Deccan Traps in India may have doomed the animals before the asteroid struck off the coast of Mexico. A series of four massive pulses of eruptions there released enough lava to build a ring one mile thick and five miles across that would encircle the globe. These events also released vast quantities of poisonous gas into the atmosphere, and created extreme global warming, raising temperatures worldwide. This climate change may have weakened the line of dinosaurs so much, they were unable to withstand the additional climate change which happened once the asteroid hit the Earth.Read More Did Global Warming Kill off the Dinosaurs?
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrived at the asteroid Bennu on December 3rd. This mission will return samples from this body to the Earth for study by researchers. Bennu was discovered in 1999, and this carbon-rich asteroid is believed to be older than the solar system. Researchers hope the mission will help teach us more about the ancient solar system and the formation of life on Earth. The sample material is scheduled to land in the desert of Utah in the year 2023. This is the first U.S. mission to land on an asteroid.Read More OSIRIS-REx Arrives at the Asteroid Bennu – Tucson and the World Celebrates
Liquid water has been found on Mars for the first time. The underground lake is 20 kilometers in diameter, and lies 1.5 kilometers beneath the south pole of the Red Planet. This finding greatly increases the chance of finding primitive life on Mars, although complex life is unlikely to be found there, due to the harsh conditions.Read More Eureka! Liquid Water Discovered on Mars!
A planet sitting 500 light years from Earth, Kepler 186-f, is now considered to be the most Earth-like of all worlds away from our solar system. A new study from Georgia Tech reveals the planet has a stable tilt, providing regular seasons, much like those on Earth. Currently, astronomers know of over 3,700 planets orbiting stars other than our own.Read More Explore Kepler 186-f – The Most Earth-like Exoplanet Out There
Dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid impact 66 million years ago. But, new research suggests plankton and other animals returned to the impact site just a few years after the cataclysmic event. Within 30,000 years, the region was teeming with life. Other areas of the Earth took up to 300,000 years to recover from the collision. Researchers are questioning how life recovered so quickly near the impact site.Read More Life Returned Quickly After Dinosaurs were Wiped Out by an Asteroid
Microbes thrive under conditions like those seen on Saturn’s ocean moon of Enceladus. What does this mean for the search for extraterrestrial life?Read More Microbes Could be Right at Home on Saturn’s Moon Enceladus
Did asteroids deliver the chemicals needed to begin life on Earth? A new study makes that possibility seem more likely.Read More Did Life on Earth Start Because of Asteroids?