One of the visions Whitley had at the secret school, the mysterious place where he remembers attending classes as a child, concerned the origin of the moon. In his book the Secret School, he wrote: "I saw something slam into a glowing orb that appeared to me to be the earth, whereupon it broke into two pieces." This vision was later validated by science, when the Apollo missions of 1968-72 brought back moon rocks that confirmed that the moon was once part of the earth. Now these rocks are being studied again, giving evidence that both the moon and the earth were bombarded by large meteorites around 4 billion years ago.
When astronomers search for planets that might harbor life, they look for solar systems with a large Jupiter-like planet in an outer orbit, since this absorbs the blows from incoming space rocks. They also look for a planet that just the right distance from its sun?not too near and not too far?as well as one which has at least one moon orbiting it, so as to slow down the otherwise destructive solar winds. The fact that this combination is incredibly rare may mean that life, especially intelligent life, is extremely rare as well.
The reason we need to study moon rocks is because there aren't many really old rocks on the surface of the earth, and this has to do with?earthquakes. In space.com, Ker Than quotes geologist Robert Duncan as saying, "We haven't found many very old rocks on Earth because our planet's surface is constantly renewed by plate tectonics, coupled with erosion."
The "moon man" image we see on the moon is composed of craters, so we have evidence of these impacts that we can see with our own eyes. The heavy bombardment period was important for the evolution of life on earth, because it came at about the same time that scientists think that the first primitive bacteria appeared here. Some scientists think this bacteria have actually ridden here on a meteor that was broken off from the surface of Mars, during an impact on that planet, which would mean that we all have Martian ancestry.
There's another theory as well. According to Duncan, the space rocks that bombarded us 4 billion years ago may have come from "a 10th and 11th planet that collided."
Art credit: gimp-savvy.com
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