The Chicxulub crater was left behind approximately 66 million years ago when a massive asteroid struck the Earth, impacting the planet enough to kill off the dinosaurs. Now scientists are preparing to drill and survey the site for the first time in history.
According to Science, a research team is gearing up to explore the crater and drill out rock cores that could hold the key to explaining how life eventually grew out of the catastrophe that took out the dinosaurs — and if the crater might have harbored the microbial life in the wake of the collision. The plan is to drill into the 112-mile-wide ridge left behind by the impact. The goal is to dig almost a mile deep into the crater to pull out samples.
Geophysicist Sean Gulick, co–chief scientist for the project, noted the peak is the only preserved structure scientists can reach, because “all the other ones are either on another planet, or they’ve been eroded.” Fair enough. Scientists hope to find evidence of how life was right before the impact, as well as how it was immediately impacted, by looking at the evidence left behind and the (previously) molten rock. If all goes as planned, this could be a fascinating window into the history of our planet.
Who knows? Maybe we’ll find something that can help us avoid our own catastrophic downfall when another world-buster comes heading our way.