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Meteorites could have brought life on Earth

The meteorite found on Mars by Opportunity rover. NASA photo

LONDON (PTI): Life on Earth may have been kick- started by meteorites which bombarded our planet four billion years ago, a new study has suggested.

Previously planetary scientists thought that nothing could have survived the "heavy bombardment".

But, now a team at Aberdeen University has claimed that microbes -- the primitive forms of life -- survived the massive barrage of impacts by taking refuge deep underground -- and actually thrived on the temperatures generated.

For their study, the researchers analysed a mineral called pyrite, in a crater on Devon Island, a wilderness in the Canadian High Arctic, which were deposited by a type of microbe which likes heat and is also capable of withstanding temperatures close to boiling point.

According to them, hyperthermophiles had colonised all of the Haughton Crater - over 12 miles across and at least 200 metres below the Earth's surface, indicating they would have been able to live deep underground in the darkness known as the "deep biosphere", 'The Daily Telegraph' reported.

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