The number of asteroids that have clashed with the Earth and the Moon has increased three times over the last 290 million years, according to a research published yesterday in the journal Science.
This discovery challenges previous knowledge about the history of the Earth, since until now scientists had tried to calculate the number of asteroids that had impacted by studying their craters and establishing the antiquity of the surrounding rocks.
However, a group of researchers has discovered that it is possible to learn more about this subject by observing the Moon, because both this star and the Earth are affected in the same proportion over time.
Scientists studied the lunar surface using satellite thermal data and images collected by NASA to determine the age of its craters and found that large rocks emit more lunar earth temperature.
One of the authors of the research, Rebecca Ghent, of the University of Toronto and an expert of the Planetary Science Institute of Tucson (Arizona, USA), has calculated the speed with which the lunar rocks fall on the ground and discover the relationship between the its amount near a crater and its age.
Comparing the characteristics of the lunar craters with those of the Earth, the scientists saw that they were similar and concluded that the formation of craters in the last 290 million years was between two and three times higher than that of the previous 700 million years.
The reason for this difference is unknown, but it could be related to more collisions over 290 million damage in the main asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, which may have created remains that would have reached other parts of the solar system.
These findings also have implications for the history of life on Earth, linked to major extinction events and the rapid evolution of new species.
Scientists point out that the impact of asteroids may have played an important role in the extinction of species, such as dinosaurs.
Another of the authors, Thomas Gernon, of the University of Southampton (United Kingdom), believed that "it is perhaps fair to say that it was an appointment with the fate of the dinosaurs: its fall was something inevitable given the wave of large space rocks that hit the Earth. "