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Computer simulation suggests early Earth bombarded by asteroids and comets

Posted August 1, 2014
Earth from space

A team of researchers at the Southwest Research Institute in Colorado has created a computer simulation that depicts the first 500 million years of Earth’s existence, taking into account collisions with asteroids and comets. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the researchers describe how they built their simulation using crater data from the moon and other planets, and what it likely meant for early Earth.


The general consensus among  is that Earth was formed approximately 4.5 billion years ago—unfortunately, because our planet underwent such upheaval during the next half billion years or so, little has survived that can be used as evidence to offer a picture of what the planet looked like and what the impact of events during that time mean for the world we see today.

To gain a better understanding of the time after the Earth was formed, known as the Hadean Eon, the researchers looked to other bodies in our solar system—the moon in particular. The cratered face of our solitary natural satellite suggests a violent past, which offers hints of what our own planet endured.

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