November 9, 2022
When researchers in Greenland announced the discovery of the oldest fossils ever found of life, the science community was clearly concerned.
The 3.7 billion-year-old rocks of Greenland are stromatolites, which contain the fossilized remains of complex microbes found in shallow waters.
They depict more evolutionary advanced life-forms than scientists thought at that point in Earth's history.
The implications of the findings went far beyond the boundaries of Earth—they influenced the future of astronomy.
To understand why, remember that Earth was formed 4.6 billion years ago, but it didn't come neatly draped with a bow at the top.
Instead, our planet was like any other infant: unstable, violent and unpredictable. Most of the surface was still molten lava.
Which was cooling down, and it was being driven around the solar system by giant asteroids and space junk.
The pummeling became extra bad during what scientists call the Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB) between 4.1 and 3.8 billion years ago.
The rate at which Earth was being hit by the collision was enough to wipe out any existing lifeforms and basically make Earth sterile.
Boston says stromatolites are a very good analog for trying to hunt down early life forms on Mars.