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You Need Just the Right Amount of Killer Asteroids to Promote Complex Life

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Different kinds of asteroid belts

An artist’s impression of the different configurations of asteroid belts that could occur. Image credit: NASA/ESA/A. Feild, STScI

Sure, asteroids can be planetary annihilators, scouring the surface of a world with fire and molten rock. But asteroids might also help seed a planet with the right ingredients to set up the conditions for life, and give that life encouragement to evolve more complex survival strategies.

As with all things, it’s just about balance. Too many asteroids, and you’ve got an unrelenting cosmic shooting gallery, raining fiery death from above. Too few asteroids, and complex life might not get the raw material it needs to get rolling. Life never gets that opportunity to really shake things up and evolve into more complex forms.
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imageimageYou Need Just the Right Amount of Killer Asteroids to Promote Complex LifeYou Need Just the Right Amount of Killer Asteroids to Promote Complex Life