Friday, April 14, 2023 at 10:30am CT
Speaker: Charles Cockell, Professor of Astrobiology, UK Center for Astrobiology, University of Edinburgh
Host: Cornelia Rasmussen
Title: Impact cratering as a biological process
Abstract: Asteroid and comet impacts are well known to be able to cause profound geophysical changes to planets, and the vast energies released are generally regarded as catastrophic for life. Yet these energies can cause geophysical changes of benefit to life, such as the alteration of target rocks that improve fluid flow and energy availability for microorganisms. Discussing results from a range of different impact craters, I’ll explore the effects of impacts on surface and subsurface habitats for life. Although now rare on Earth, on Mars, where plate tectonics has not been active, impact craters likely profoundly influence the subsurface and near-surface habitability of that planet. As impact events are universal, so are the potential effects on life anywhere else in the universe.