Most of us know what killed the dinosaurs sixty-five million years ago. It was a giant comet that smashed down somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico, leaving strange conical-shaped depressions all along the seabed near South Carolina. These were where the trailing comet embers buried themselves in the sea at tremendous velocity. (There are other proofs of the comet’s crash, but that’s the easiest one to remember.)
That’s all well and good, but why did the Earth get hit by a comet when this sort of event is rare in the planet’s history? Sure, there was that recent asteroid in Russia, but it was tiny. There was a large comet-like explosion in Siberia in the early part of the twentieth century, cutting down swaths of forest. But, not much else is known about giant space bodies hitting the earth.
Now, a researcher named Lisa Randall says that dark matter is the cause of a sudden influx of comet activity in the prehistoric age. She claims that dark matter (which makes up much more than the regular matter that you and I can see) could have come sweeping by the Milky Way causing “a tiny perturbation in space, amounting to a flicker in the gravitational force that can knock comets out of the solar system’s Kuiper belt or the Öort cloud just outside and send them towards the Earth, according to Phys.Org news.
But would dark matter do this? Scientists are discussing whether dark matter could congregate into a disk at all, much less kicking out comets from the Milky Way. Not much is known about dark matter, but many skeptics say that dark matter would group together into a halo-like array rather than forming a disc similar to the Milky Way. To get around this argument, Randall says there are different kinds of dark matter that behave in different ways. And that’s where the discussion goes off into the, um, stratosphere for me.
However, Randall is a world-renowned cosmologist, and a great number of astrophysicists are saying her viewpoint is certainly credible.
I would be a bit more intrigued by this subject if it would predict what’s around the corner for us concerning future comets and asteroids. I recently reported that writer Graham Hancock is convinced we are due for a big one and that a comet probably sank the world into a deep freeze starting the great Ice Age. However, here Randall is mum on anything that is any closer than sixty-five million years ago.
Still, I’m looking for that comet deflector or asteroid shield that NASA is supposedly working on. Never too soon guys, or we’ll be as extinct as a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Read more here.