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Parts of asteroid that hit Earth 65m yrs ago may have littered in space

London, Fri, 13 Apr 2012 ANI

London, Apr 13 (ANI): In a new study, scientists are focused on determining what happened to the bits of rock that were cast off into space as a result of an asteroid hitting the Earth 65-million-years ago that even killed the dinosaurs.

The researchers estimate that billions of tons of rocks and water were shot into space when the massive asteroid hit the earth, the Daily Mail reported.

The saga began approximately 65-million-years-ago when a trillion ton asteroid, which is thought to have measured in with a 10km diameter, came crashing down to earth.

That fatal day, called the Chicxulub crater event, was much more widespread than initially explained.

The immediate effects included mega-tsunamis and global wildfires leading to the extinction of all land-based life on the planet.

The often-ignored effects were the shower of billions of tons of life-bearing 'mini' asteroids that were spread throughout the galaxy after spewing off Earth.

Researchers out of Kyoto Sangyo University have speculated on the possible whereabouts of these key rocks.

Their studies are not being done simply to answer centuries-old curiosities, but they have true scientific value because these rocks could possibly sustain life if they have been able to retain water during their significant space travels.

Tetsuya Hara and his team focused their research on the portions of rocks that could have landed in areas of the galaxy that would be condusive for life to prosper.

Their thinking is that since Earth is the only planet known to harbour life, then it would have had to be the planet to produce any other bases of life-enabling planets.

The location of the initial impact of the asteroid has been a source of mystery for scientists for many years, and that mystery was only solved in 2010.

The first tips to the answer came from geophysicist Glen Penfield in the 1970s when he discovered that anomolies in the stone make up in the crater near the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula.

He was surprised to find gravitie anomaly and quartz when he was searching for oil. The age of these stones dated back to the Cretaceous period which tallies up to about 65 million years ago.

Those initial findings were confirmed by a group of 41 experts in March 2010 who formally agreed that the impact of the asteroid at the Chicxulub crater caused the extinction of dinosaurs along with all other living things.

These millions of particles that came from the Chicxulub crater event, therefore, are the most likely starting points for any other inter-galactic life.

The two formal areas that they named as possibilities were the Jovian moon Europa and the Saturian moon Enceladus, though they also deemed unnamed Earth like exo-planets that surround stars as other possibilities.

MIT's Technology Review states that, even though the moon is drastically closer to the Earth than Europa, the two likely had the same amount of debris sent towards their orbits when the initial asteroid hit.

They estimate that in total, those numbers could have gone as high as 10 Caret 8 for both.

While those numbers are hefty, the largest proportion of these loose rocks is thought to have ended up in interstellar space. (ANI)

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