Saturday, January 12, 2013

Science Saturday: You Rock, Rock!

Scientists discover the world's oldest rock in Western Australia. And by studying it, they've come up with a radically new picture of Earth in her younger years: there may have been oceans on Earth's surface far earlier than previously thought. As Krulwich puts it:

It is now possible to imagine that life began on Earth almost as soon as the Earth began — that life (in the presence of water) is, if not inevitable, at least very insistent. Once you've got a planet with water — BINGO! 
If that's true, chances for life in the universe suddenly improve — dramatically.
Here on Earth, life could have formed, been blown away, then formed again — and one of those times, down at the bottom of some temporary ocean, sitting by a warm vent — it stayed. 
That's what this teeny chip of a rock is now allowing us to think: that life has such potency, such urgency, that as soon as life is possible — life happens! 
That's a mighty big story to find in a pebble.

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