Impact craters on Mars, Mercury and the Moon
Impact events have even affected the atmospheres of the giant gaseous planets, as exemplified by the impact of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter in 1994, which produced Earth-size blotches in the atmosphere.
Near-infrared image of the Shoemaker-Levy 9 impact event on Jupiter.
Our own planet does not look as battered as Mercury or the Moon, but appearances are deceiving. The Earth has been the target of approximately 10 times more impacting objects than the Moon, producing over 3 million impact craters from 1 km in diameter to more than 1000 km in diameter. However, other geologic processes on Earth, like plate subduction, mountain building, erosion, and volcanism, destroy impact craters and mask their effect on our planet. Only about 160 surviving impact craters have been found thus far.
Perhaps the most
infamous of these impact craters is the ~180 km diameter Chicxulub
impact crater on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Studies of
the Chicxulub impact event and the mass extinction event that occurred
on Earth 65 million years ago have demonsrated that impact cratering can
affect the biologic evolution of a planet as well as the geologic evolution
of a planet.
This web site will, over a period of several years, explore the environmental effects of impact cratering and the biological consequences of those effects. Ideas will be explored and explained as they appear in the scientific literature so that students, teachers, and the general public can follow the exploration of scientists as they try to unravel the secrets of life, its origin, and evolution on Earth and the possibility of life elsewhere in the solar system. New sections will be added to this site as warrented by new studies, so revisit the site in the future to read about the progress being made.
ORIGIN OF LIFE
IMPACT CRATERING MAP
This web site is part of the NASA/UA Space Imagery Center's Impact Cratering
Concept and content by David A. Kring.
Design, graphics, and images by Jake Bailey and David A. Kring.
All information and images are the property of the Space Imagery Center.
To obtain usage permission, contact the Data Manager - Maria Schuchardt at email@example.com