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Killer Asteroids Are Good For Life

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the life-from-above dept.

Space 70

Hugh Pickens writes "NASA reports that according to a study by Rebecca Martin and Mario Livio asteroid collisions may have provided a boost to the birth and evolution of complex life on earth delivering water and organic compounds to the early Earth and accelerating the rate of biological evolution with occasional impacts to disrupt a planet's environment to the point where species must try new adaptation strategies. 'Too many asteroids, and you've got an unrelenting cosmic shooting gallery, raining fiery death from above,' writes Fraser Cain. 'Too few asteroids, and complex life might not get the raw material it needs to get rolling. Life never gets that opportunity to really shake things up and evolve into more complex forms.' Martin and Livio suggest that the location of an asteroid belt relative to a Jupiter-like planet is not an accident. The asteroid belt in our solar system, located between Mars and Jupiter, is a region of millions of space rocks that sits near the 'snow line,' which marks the border of a cold region where volatile material such as water ice are far enough from the sun to remain intact. 'To have such ideal conditions you need a giant planet like Jupiter that is just outside the asteroid belt [and] that migrated a little bit, but not through the belt,' Livio explains. 'If a large planet like Jupiter migrates through the belt, it would scatter the material. If, on the other hand, a large planet did not migrate at all, that, too, is not good because the asteroid belt would be too massive. There would be so much bombardment from asteroids that life may never evolve.'"

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70 comments

This is far to complex to be real.... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41880709)

Therefore it must be the work of God!

Re:This is far to complex to be real.... (1)

AndyKron (937105) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881117)

My thoughts exactly! ALL HAIL the IPU !!!

Nice, but speculation (2)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about a year and a half ago | (#41880711)

This is nice, but it is entirely speculation. There really isn't enough data to make a conclusion.

Re:Nice, but speculation (3, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881097)

Of course it's speculation. How do you think you figure these things out? Time travel?

But it is potentially useful speculation. Instead of trying to find life on everything floating around random bits of fusion, look for specific parameters. Basically, one is attempting to Goldilocks the Drake Equation [wikipedia.org] . Since there appear to be lots of lots of bits of rock [discovery.com] orbiting random stars this can be a useful thing.

Re:Nice, but speculation (3, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about a year and a half ago | (#41884565)

But it is potentially useful speculation.

No, it's not terribly useful.

Instead of trying to find life on everything floating around random bits of fusion, look for specific parameters.

We can speculate that it takes a certain type of asteroid belt for a planet to have complex life, but since we don't have real evidence to prove that, it would be premature to filter our planet search based on a parameter of which we don't know the relevance. Especially since the only way to figure out whether it's relevant would be to look hard at all planets, in order to confirm or disprove the hypothesis.

Relying on a hypothesis that turned out not to be valid has already slowed down exoplanet searches once. Hot super-Jupiters could have been found by transit searches long ago, but nobody thought to devote resources to do the observation, since "of course" Jupiter-sized planets could only exist at high distances from their stars.

Re:Nice, but speculation (2)

tinkerton (199273) | about a year and a half ago | (#41884685)

I think it's not even nice. It rests on the assumption that the earth needed some kind of external kickstarter to get life going which goes back to the conception that there was no way life could start from scratch so it had to come from elsewhere.

Let's take the idea seriously instead that the earth never needed the external kickstarter. Instead, and that any potential kickstarter would have been drowned out by what's already present.

Like comets delivering water to the sea.

Re:Nice, but speculation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41887437)

There's some speculation with asteroids, but the evolutionary concepts are testable and have been verified. In environments prone to frequent catastrophes (e.g. wild fire), only the rapid colonizing species have enough time to get a foothold. In very stable environments, the competitive exclusion principle [wikipedia.org] ensures a monoculture for each niche. Biodiversity is thus optimized in environments that are somewhere in-between.

Taken to an extreme, if the Earth didn't have mass extinctions every 27 million years [wiley.com] , then we'd probably have a grey goo scenario. Without mass extinctions the most effective species of bacteria would monopolize nearly 100% of the resources, as the tiniest advantage would ensure eventual extinction of lesser competitors. Or, if macroscopic animals are easier to conceptualize, mammals would have never taken over for dinosaurs, who would have never taken over for the pelycosaurs and amphibians of the Permian age, who would have never taken over for the giant insects of the carboniferous, and so on.

Not as good for life as Alien spaceships... (2)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#41880721)

...full of advanced life forms...

Re:Not as good for life as Alien spaceships... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year and a half ago | (#41880857)

...life forms that are non-organic. But after a few thousands of years processing data in their core CPUs, they decide they need to propagate across the Universe. The end solution is to create self-replicating nanites. The re-indroduction of the "cell" programed in DNA was the ultimate solution. What's old is now new again.

Re:Not as good for life as Alien spaceships... (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881189)

...life forms that are non-organic. But after a few thousands of years processing data in their core CPUs, they decide they need to propagate across the Universe. The end solution is to create self-replicating nanites. The re-indroduction of the "cell" programed in DNA was the ultimate solution. What's old is now new again.

Hahaha! Can you bend a spoon?

Re:Not as good for life as Alien spaceships... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881615)

Better. I can throw knives ;)

Re:Not as good for life as Alien spaceships... (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year and a half ago | (#41882525)

Or to put it another way, not as good for intelligence. On the balance killer asteroids are pretty bad for life, but many of the life forms that survive must develop the ability to adapt rapidly to sudden and drastic environmental changes. The best way to do this is simply to get smarter. Now it may be a roulette wheel spanning hundreds of millions of years, but I think that eventually intelligence must emerge wherever there is a life in a relatively unstable location, since it is the ultimate evolutionary advantage.

Good for life (4, Insightful)

rossdee (243626) | about a year and a half ago | (#41880763)

But not as we know it, Jim

Great... (1)

CmdrEdem (2229572) | about a year and a half ago | (#41880765)

You just gave another idea to those mad scientists out here that want to create a master race. Instead of diseases they`ll use meteors!

Re:Great... (1)

kasperd (592156) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881543)

You just gave another idea to those mad scientists out here that want to create a master race. Instead of diseases they`ll use meteors!

That is actually one of the possibilities in this game [boardgamegeek.com] .

We don't need any more of those. (3, Insightful)

yog (19073) | about a year and a half ago | (#41880859)

It was perhaps great for life back in the old days a couple billion years ago. But it wouldn't be very good for us today. Can we not have any more mass extinction events, please?

Anyway, we're doing a pretty fair job of causing our own mass extinction. Nuclear war, tailored viruses, nano-machines run amock, artificial intelligence that wants us gone. Yup, lots of chances to do ourselves in and give the Earth a chance to start over.

FYI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41881119)

The planet still contains a couple of super-massive volcanoes, too. If one of those blows, it will be an extinction-level event. Also, there is little we can do (at the moment) to delay or accelerate such an event.

Re:We don't need any more of those. (3, Insightful)

Joehonkie (665142) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881151)

When have any of those things you mentioned other than nuclear war ever come close to happening outside of a sci-fi novel? Why don't you concentrate on real problems.

Re:We don't need any more of those. (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881603)

When have any of those things you mentioned other than nuclear war ever come close to happening outside of a sci-fi novel? Why don't you concentrate on real problems.

... Said the dinosaur to the Ministry of Genetic Aeronautics.

Chickens Survive.

Re:We don't need any more of those. (2, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881611)

When have any of those things you mentioned other than nuclear war ever come close to happening outside of a sci-fi novel?

Tunguska - 1908 [wikipedia.org] , and many other places [wikipedia.org] .

Re:We don't need any more of those. (1)

Joehonkie (665142) | about a year and a half ago | (#41883249)

I was talking specifically of his list of other alternatives.

Re:We don't need any more of those. (3, Interesting)

kasperd (592156) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881783)

When have any of those things you mentioned other than nuclear war ever come close to happening outside of a sci-fi novel?

It does not only happen in sci-fi novels, it also happens in sci-fi movies. Somehow because it happens in sci-fi, lots of people think it is likely to happen in the real world as well. Why are people so easy to manipulate, that just because you make fiction about something, lots of people will actually perceive it as a real threat?

There are real threats to mankind, but I don't think mankind is a threat to life in general. We are a threat to specific species, including ourselves. But though we may cause many species to go extinct, I don't believe we could wipe out life on Earth. But is earthlife going to survive when the Sun boils away our oceans millions of years from now? If mankind goes extinct, will there be enough time for a new civilisation to develop the capability to travel through space in the Earth's lifetime?

Re:We don't need any more of those. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41882087)

Well, I suppose you could look at the poisoning of the Earth's atmosphere with photosynthetically-derived free oxygen back in the Archean as "nano-machines run amok".

Re:We don't need any more of those. (2)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year and a half ago | (#41883725)

Nuclear war, tailored viruses, nano-machines run amock, artificial intelligence that wants us gone.

How about simple clearcutting and creating lots (and lots and lots) of smoke by burning stuff? I know, how mundane...

Re:We don't need any more of those. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41883833)

It was perhaps great for life back in the old days a couple billion years ago. But it wouldn't be very good for us today. Can we not have any more mass extinction events, please?

It'll stop global warming from the influence of Humans......

Decisions, decisions.

Anthropic principle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41880897)

Here. [wikipedia.org]

Fermi Paradox (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41880915)

It is amazing how little we know about the universe. Not amazing in terms of "why don't we know this stuff", but amazing in terms of "there is so much to learn that it makes what we know seem infinitesimal."

Logic and what we know already point to a universe filled with intelligent life or at least life. Yet we seem so all alone. Are we the first? Are we in a universe filled with life and cannot detect it? Has this universe been abandoned by all the more advanced life forms and we're one of the few left? Are we in a zoo?

All of these questions, and we only have speculation for answers. I'd expect to have some answers to these question in the next generation or two. We're detecting planets at an accelerating rate and are getting to discover smaller planets now that Kepler has had enough time to get enough transits for the further away planets. Our detection of radio waves ability is improving and we now have better targets to try out.

While we may not have all the answers, I would expect by 2050 to know how common life is, but part of me wonders if we haven't detected intelligent life by then if we are not truly alone in this galaxy. I shudder to think that might be true, but it is a real possibility. We live in exciting times, and I thank those that have made missions like Kepler possible.

-- MyLongNickName

Re:Fermi Paradox (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881695)

The more we learn, the less we know.

Re:Fermi Paradox (3, Interesting)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881991)

It would be pretty amazing to me if ours were the only life in the cosmos. On the otherhand, at night I just look upwards and gaze at all of the Space there is yet to Conquer.

It's an almost insurmountable task -- One that will take the peaceful cooperation on a planet-wide scale to do, but I do believe it's possible for our race survive the hostilities the Universe throws at us. I nearly shed a tear each time I hear of NASA funding getting cut while trillions are wasted on pointless war efforts. If our primary goal as a species isn't getting some of our eggs out of this one basket, then we're surely doomed...

However you look at it, we've been dealt an amazing hand. When I hear folks talk about fixing problems at home first before venturing into space I think, "What a waste it would be to fold so soon."

Re:Fermi Paradox (1)

Guru80 (1579277) | about a year and a half ago | (#41882203)

2050 is WAY too optimistic. Even though we are discovering planets at an increasing rate and making advances everyday (although much slower than we should be, thanks minimal budgets), the fact is if you held your fist up to the night sky we have covered only a fraction of that. At the current pace it will take many generations to actually study the viable planets/systems.

Re:Fermi Paradox (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about a year and a half ago | (#41882503)

I don't think we need to discover all planets to know how common planets are. If we do another couple of Keplers, looking at different areas of the sky, we can use statistics to give a very good estimate. That is doable this decade or next.

Once we have discovered a couple hundred viable planets, we do analysis of the atmosphere to look for signs of life. If life is as "easy" as seems to be the thought process today then we should find evidence to support. If a couple hundred planets turns up no evidence, then we have some things to rethink.

So, although we might not have a complete wikipedia of the galaxy, we should have enough to extrapolate reasonably.

Re:Fermi Paradox (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | about a year and a half ago | (#41882511)

Where are all the aliens? They're just like us - stuck in their gravity wells trying to find economic ways to travel vast distances quickly, as well as trying to replicate their planet's environment on a spaceship. We already know that life needs volatile chemicals to exist - otherwise space would be teeming with life.

Re:Fermi Paradox (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about a year and a half ago | (#41883095)

Where are all the aliens? They're just like us - stuck in their gravity wells trying to find economic ways to travel vast distances quickly, as well as trying to replicate their planet's environment on a spaceship. We already know that life needs volatile chemicals to exist - otherwise space would be teeming with life.

Well, there's an awful lot of XeeLees out there, but they prefer living near galactic cores.

Re:Fermi Paradox (2)

na1led (1030470) | about a year and a half ago | (#41883053)

The Universe is full of life, it's their time and distance that sets them far apart. It's like trying to locate a firefly across the globe within a 1 second window.

Re:Fermi Paradox (1)

blind biker (1066130) | about a year and a half ago | (#41883649)

Logic and what we know already point to a universe filled with intelligent life or at least life. Yet we seem so all alone.

We, as a society, wouldn't be able to recognize intelligent life if it hit us in the head. Just look at the contempt most people show towards clearly sentient animals like elephants, dolphins and whales. (Some) scientists recognize their sentience, but almost nobody outside of their circles.

Hell, a few centuries ago, even black people from Africa were considered "without soul" (roughly translated as "without sentience"). I give us 0 chance of recognizing an alien life as intelligent.

Intelligent? Let me downgrade even that expectation: we're not ready to recognize even basic life, let alone intelligent. Just look at how NASA brushed under the carpet the results from the Viking probes.

Amigo, we're pathetic.

Are? (1)

elvum (9344) | about a year and a half ago | (#41880923)

s/are/were/

Sounds good (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about a year and a half ago | (#41880937)

Can we, within this theory, somehow equate human-induced ecological catastrophes to asteroid impacts?

Accident? (1)

N0Man74 (1620447) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881025)

From TFS:

Martin and Livio suggest that the location of an asteroid belt relative to a Jupiter-like planet is not an accident. The

This seems to be a poor word choice. I think "coincidence" is far more appropriate choice to suggest a correlation. "Accident" seems to imply intent.

Great (1)

virgnarus (1949790) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881047)

This sounds exactly like the kind of spiel a supervillian would give, prior to actually becoming a supervillian. Once he's rejected by his alumni and alma mater, he'll go through the necessary drastic measures to make sure something like this happens, just to prove he's right.

Sure (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881077)

Anything that doesn't kill you makes you stronger. That is not necessarily a good thing, however. Or a bad thing. Life doesn't mind. Life just goes on. I don't think that life has no challenges without it, however. Earth offers too many different ecosystems to be bored.

Fermi Paradox explained (1)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881083)

The reason we don't see a lot of other life is because it takes awhile to evolve.The Fermi paradox added time to their probabilities which always cancels out any calculations. The easiest-to-understand calculation is this: there are 10 to the 22nd stars in the entire universe. For Earth to be unique (at this time) all we need is a string of 22 one out of ten chances of something happening. Or 11 one out of a hundred chances.

For my money, I'll bet life doesn't come out of the oceans (and develop fire and civilization) without a moon causing huge tides.

100 percent of the time, everytime (3, Insightful)

Jessified (1150003) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881109)

Basically, intelligent life can only evolve under circumstances identical to the way we evolved.

"100 percent of the cases where we know life evolved, these circumstances prevailed. Therefore..."

So - you're saying 60% of the time... (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#41882143)

...it works every time??

Re:So - you're saying 60% of the time... (1)

Jessified (1150003) | about a year and a half ago | (#41882367)

yes :)

Re:So - you're saying 60% of the time... (2)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#41882425)

So - intelligent life is actually made up of real bits of panther then? Fascinating!

Re:So - you're saying 60% of the time... (1)

rwise2112 (648849) | about a year and a half ago | (#41884485)

But there's only a 10% chance of that!

Sounds like Calculating God (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41882283)

A sci-fi novel by Robert Sawyer, where aliens show up at Earth looking for signs of similarly timed planet-wide events like this that pushed evolution along to create intelligent life.

Interesting theological plug. (0)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881203)

Martin and Livio suggest that the location of an asteroid belt relative to a Jupiter-like planet is not an accident.

If it's not an accident, then it's intentional. For it to be intentional, it must have been designed.

Sounds to me like they are trying to make a teleological argument for the existence of God.

Re:Interesting theological plug. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41881631)

The opposite of accidental isn't always 'intentional'. Sometimes it's 'consequential'

Re:Interesting theological plug. (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881869)

Martin and Livio suggest that the location of an asteroid belt relative to a Jupiter-like planet is not an accident.

If it's not an accident, then it's intentional. For it to be intentional, it must have been designed.

Sounds to me like they are trying to make a teleological argument for the existence of God.

Yes, if the FSM hadn't moved Jupiter out a little, we might have evolved enough intelligence to reject silly arguments.

Supermassive Black Holes And Volcanos (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881211)

Are also theorized as necessary for life on earth because all that loose hydrogen formed the Milky Way galaxy around Sagittarius A* and volcanos spread sulfur-based amino acids necessary for early life. Hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis are probably also necessary for life in some way we don't yet understand.

In conclusion, if something is extremely detrimental to life, it's probably also necessary for it.

Re:Supermassive Black Holes And Volcanos (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881629)

Hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis are probably also necessary for life in some way we don't yet understand.

Real world is not such an intelligently designed well balanced video game. Well balanced games DO include weird stuff that is required specifically for a balance.
This appears to have no relationship with the real world.
Some things, just happen to suck. No hidden positive agenda was necessary for them to exist.

in some way we don't yet understand.

In conclusion,

Math teacher: Not amused. This is the classic dotcom logic in literary form:
1) something
2) something else
3) ...
4) success!

Re:Supermassive Black Holes And Volcanos (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881899)

The whole idea of "Yin and Yang" being balanced.

Killer asteroids are like political change. (3, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881311)

You know what they say about new legislation or technology. All the people who are going to lose jobs or otherwise affected by the newfangled thing or the new law are going to know it and oppose it fiercely. But the people who might benefit from the new technology or the law might not even know they are going to benefit. So they discount the future, become lackadaisical, and ignore the whole thing.

Killer asteroids are good to life that might emerge after the collision. But if you poll the existing life on the planet? meh! Its popularity is going to be very very bad.

Re:Killer asteroids are like political change. (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881949)

Killer asteroids are good to life that might emerge after the collision. But if you poll the existing life on the planet? meh! Its popularity is going to be very very bad.

Polls showed that dinosaurs were strongly against the KT event, but more mammals showed up to vote. And the avian protest vote didn't help the dinos either.

Re:Killer asteroids are like political change. (1)

EnsilZah (575600) | about a year and a half ago | (#41890359)

Apophis 2029!
Eco-climatological change you can believe in!

Hand-waving and inconsistencies (3, Interesting)

arisvega (1414195) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881449)

"Snowline"-based conjectures actually postulate that Jupiter was formed exactly because of its location on the snowline: since this snowline has to be a sharp boundary(1), a locally-enhanced density area, radially symmetric around the Sun(2), is created and collapses into a massive planet because it rapidly accretes material(3) from its neighborhood.

I have seen a lot of hand-waving used to fill in the gaps (note: "hand-waving": (idiomatic) Discussion or argumentation involving approximation, vagueness, educated guessing, or the attempt to explain or excuse vagaries) on where and when a gas giant actually forms in a snowline, and how exactly planets 'migrate'.

(1) sharp boundaries may not be as common as you think: there is only a handful of computer models that actually take into account the three-dimensional structure of the accretion disk (proto-planetary disk, a very computationally expensive problem) and lots of physics are lost in 2D simplifications.

(3) Fairly recent observations have shown that complex organic molecules are present in Giant Molecular Cloud [wikipedia.org] structures, long preceding the formation of any star or planet. The mechanism of their creation and their distribution is mostly unknown, and an active area of research, as of course is the formation of planetary systems. Hand-waving has not produced any robust results as of yet. Computer modeling, on the other hand, looks more promising.

Re:Hand-waving and inconsistencies (1)

arisvega (1414195) | about a year and a half ago | (#41881489)

(2) there is a high degree of uncertainty as to the power output of the Sun at that era, and if there actually was a Sun at all: there has to be a central object, but that does not mean that it will be a star.

Re:Hand-waving and inconsistencies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41882961)

Doesn't common sense just confirm the sun has to be similar to what it is today?

If it was not a sun at the time or was a smaller sun, Jupiter would be the most massive body in the solar system so, matter would tend to orbit it instead, wouldn't it?

( IANA scientist so forgive me for my ignorance. )

Re:Hand-waving and inconsistencies (2)

arisvega (1414195) | about a year and a half ago | (#41884085)

Doesn't common sense just confirm the sun has to be similar to what it is today?

No: as matter accretes to the centre of the disk, the central object becomes more and more massive, and it radiates energy out via what is called the Kelvin-Helmholtz mechanism [wikipedia.org] . To make matters even more complicated, an astrophysical non-equillibrium jet is formed during the accretion process through which the disk parts energy and angular momentum. So the central object only becomes Sun-like in its properties when this jet dissipates, and its mass is enough to start a thermo-nuclear, pressure-sustained fusion of Hydrogen to Helium in its core. Even then, the fusion energy does not radiate out immediately because it has to escape the early-Sun through its outer layers. So, seen from the outside, it certainly does not look like the Sun you see today, and there are significant uncertainties regarding the exact timescale of this whole process.

If it was not a sun at the time or was a smaller sun, Jupiter would be the most massive body in the solar system so, matter would tend to orbit it instead, wouldn't it?

Perhaps: matter that is within the appropriate range of the gravitational domain [wikipedia.org] of an accreting object would accrete onto that object instead. Also, once all available matter in the immediate neighborhood falls into baby Jupiter, it cannot grow any more (called "starvation" in the literature). But again, the exact quantitative details as to how that happens, and how long it takes (i.e. if the Sun formed first, or if Jupiter formed first), are something that only modelling can answer.

Re:Hand-waving and inconsistencies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41883353)

Well structured argument and you had me totally on your frame of mind .. then something about Vag and you lost me .

Life would therefore be common... (1)

Covalent (1001277) | about a year and a half ago | (#41882135)

...because most planets form under similar conditions to Earth (coalescence of dust cloud, leaving behind large lumps - asteroids - which are pulled in toward the star by gravity and bombard inner planets).

In an other world (1)

Sla$hPot (1189603) | about a year and a half ago | (#41882303)

In an other world you would probably have an other explanation to why life is so special there.
Life is probably every where in the galaxy and in a few years time astronomers will probably have the evidence to proof it.
You can't tell what would have happened if the dinosaurs didn't get instinct.
Maybe intelligent life would have evolved millions of years earlier.
Early enough to spread to mars and beyond to avoid the next killer meteor, that might just hit us next week.

Btw Apopros (1)

Sla$hPot (1189603) | about a year and a half ago | (#41882449)

Eat shit. One billion flies can't be wrong!

Hmm... (1)

CnlPepper (140772) | about a year and a half ago | (#41883127)

Good for life after transiently being really, *really* bad....

Biggest threat to intelligent life (1)

na1led (1030470) | about a year and a half ago | (#41883193)

is not asteroids, but intelligence itself. It's more plausible that intelligent life self-destructs on it's own without any intervention, because that's the end result to intelligent life.

They're good for life... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year and a half ago | (#41884009)

...or your money back, guaranteed!

"that opportunity to really shake things up" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41884663)

"that opportunity to really shake things up"

Like Stalin was good for Russia, Romney will be good for the USA, Hitler was good for Germany, Ahmadinejad was good for Iran kind of shake things up?

Maybe in the abstract ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#41885577)

These things may be good in the abstract, in that Life can get nudged along by them.

But once life has formed, it's not so good for it .. just ask the dinosaurs. ;-)

My name is Arnold Schwarzenegger and lemme tell ya (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year and a half ago | (#41885841)

Girly Man: A Steroid is bad!

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