November 5, 2012

How asteroid belts could help us spot extra-terrestrial life

Asteroid belts like the one in our own solar system may be the key to tracking down life elsewhere in the universe, a new theory proposes.

An emerging view proposes that asteroid collisions with planets may provide a boost to the birth and evolution of complex, intelligent life.

This might sound surprising; asteroids are generally known - and feared for - for their potential to trigger mass extinctions after catastrophic impacts with our own planet.

However, according to the theory of punctuated equilibrium, occasional asteroid impacts might accelerate the rate of evolution by disrupting ecosystems to the point where species must find new adaptation strategies.

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