Lunar Impact Cataclysm: Implications for Astrobiological Conditions Throughout Our Solar System & in Other Planetary Systems
When: April 20, 2010 2:30PM PDT
Analyses of Apollo samples of the Moon and meteoritic samples of asteroids suggest there was an intense period of impact bombardment ~3.9-4.0 Ga, several hundred million years after solar system formation. The geochemical and geologic fingerprints of that period of bombardment point to asteroids as the principal source of the debris. The data suggest Jupiter’s orbit moved, causing resonances to sweep through the asteroid belt. The bombardment may have made life untenable on the surfaces of planets (including Earth), while simultaneously creating subsurface habitats. Similar periods of bombardment in other planetary systems are being detected by the Spitzer Space Telescope.
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