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Cosmic rays could have caused one of the worst mass extinctions on Earth research team says.

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posted on Dec, 23 2010 @ 04:41 PM
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Cosmic rays could have caused one of the worst mass extinctions on Earth


io9.com

450 million years ago, the Earth's warm oceans teemed with life we'd recognize as seaweed, starfish, clams, and coral reefs. Suddenly, over half these species died. Now scientists say it was caused by cosmic rays - and could happen again.
Image of a proton shower via University of Chicago.
(visit the link for the full news article)


Related News Links:
www.dailygalaxy.com
www.ncsa.illinois.edu
edit on 23-12-2010 by RUSSO because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 23 2010 @ 04:41 PM
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The biggest effect of cosmic rays on the Earth's atmosphere, says Melott, is on the ozone layer. When radiation events hit the atmosphere-which is 80 percent nitrogen-the bonds between nitrogen atoms break. The nitrogen atoms will then react with anything they can, he explains, and a substantial number of them will react with oxygen molecules or atoms, making oxides of nitrogen, which sets up a chemical reaction that converts ozone back to oxygen. However, stratospheric ozone is a vital shield against ultraviolet light from the sun. So the ozone depletion causes more ultraviolet B light (UVB) than normal to travel through the atmosphere to the ground.
"A strong event like a gamma ray burst from a nearby supernova causes even more depletion, resulting in a doubling of the global average UVB," says Melott, "which all the people who experiment on plants and animals with UVB tell us would be a disaster."


If this could be have caused this once, who knows when this will happen again.

The lesson I take away from this is how completely arbitrary and contingent the universe. Whenever someone claims there is a point to it all or some grand meaning, I point them to stuff like this.

But we can try to survive. That said, the solution to this extinction threat is simple to state: colonize space. An extremely rare, very powerful cosmic ray shower only happens on one planet at a time. If we have colonies elsewhere, our civilization will survive.

io9.com
(visit the link for the full news article)
edit on 23-12-2010 by RUSSO because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 23 2010 @ 05:03 PM
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Some more questions:

How many mass extinctions this planet faced through time? How many civilizations may have perished in ancient times? Our civilization is so special even to the point where we think that we are the "meaning"of the universe?



posted on Dec, 23 2010 @ 05:08 PM
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wow



posted on Dec, 23 2010 @ 05:17 PM
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Originally posted by RUSSO




Huh..............So now I'm suppose to look at that illustration and think "oh wow, naturally occurring cosmic rays might one day rain down death like it must have done millions of years ago"

.................and not think "Freakin lazer beams"?



posted on Dec, 23 2010 @ 05:18 PM
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Hells yes

I need a good sun tan!

Bring on the rays !!!



posted on Dec, 23 2010 @ 05:23 PM
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Oh good Science, keep feeding the fearmongerers.

Like there isn't enough ways we could all go extinct soon.
It's sad to see science related news are 90% now on board the Doomsday bandwagon.

who cares about new worlds, new methods and new discoveries, let's keep telling people how many ways they can die...



posted on Dec, 23 2010 @ 05:54 PM
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Originally posted by RUSSO
Some more questions:

How many mass extinctions this planet faced through time?


There have been five big mass extinctions. It is however interesting to note that they have been caused by different things.


1. Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event (End Cretaceous or K-T extinction) - 65.5 Ma at the Cretaceous.Maastrichtian-Paleogene.Danian transition interval.[5] The K–T event is now called the Cretaceous–Paleogene (or K–Pg) extinction event by many researchers. About 17% of all families, 50% of all genera[6] and 75% of species went extinct.[2] In the seas it reduced the percentage of sessile animals to about 33%. The boundary event was severe with a significant amount of variability in the rate of extinction between and among different clads. Mammals and birds emerged as domininant land vertebrates in the age of new life.
2. Triassic–Jurassic extinction event (End Triassic) - 205 Ma at the Triassic-Jurassic transition. About 23% of all families and 48% of all genera (20% of marine families and 55% of marine genera) went extinct.[6] Most non-dinosaurian archosaurs, most therapsids, and most of the large amphibians were eliminated, leaving dinosaurs with little terrestrial competition. Non-dinosaurian archosaurs continued to dominate aquatic environments, while non-archosaurian diapsids continued to dominate marine environments. The Temnospondyl lineage of large amphibians also survived until the Cretaceous in Australia (e.g., Koolasuchus).
3. Permian–Triassic extinction event (End Permian) - 251 Ma at the Permian-Triassic transition. Earth's largest extinction killed 57% of all families and 83% of all genera[6] (53% of marine families, 84% of marine genera, about 96% of all marine species and an estimated 70% of land species) including insects.[7] The evidence of plants is less clear, but new taxa became dominant after the extinction.[8] The "Great Dying" had enormous evolutionary significance: on land, it ended the primacy of mammal-like reptiles. The recovery of vertebrates took 30 million years,[9] but the vacant niches created the opportunity for archosaurs to become ascendant. In the seas, the percentage of animals that were sessile dropped from 67% to 50%. The whole late Permian was a difficult time for at least marine life, even before the "Great Dying".
4. Late Devonian extinction - 360-375 Ma near the Devonian-Carboniferous transition. At the end of the Frasnian Age in the later part(s) of the Devonian Period, a prolonged series of extinctions eliminated about 19% of all families, 50% of all genera[6] and 70% of all species.[citation needed] This extinction event lasted perhaps as long as 20 MY, and there is evidence for a series of extinction pulses within this period.
5. Ordovician–Silurian extinction event (End Ordovician or O-S) - 440-450 Ma at the Ordovician-Silurian transition. Two events occurred that killed off 27% of all families and 57% of all genera.[6] Together they are ranked by many scientists as the second largest of the five major extinctions in Earth's history in terms of percentage of genera that went extinct.
wiki



posted on Dec, 23 2010 @ 07:23 PM
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reply to post by RedGolem
 


Ok, this is what science discover. But it is all? For sure?



posted on Dec, 23 2010 @ 08:10 PM
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reply to post by RUSSO
 


The events I listed were the five biggest ones. I am sure people could make an argument for a few more. Being that it has happened that many times it the past, most might say that it will happen again.



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