Every 225 million years the Earth, and all the life on it, completes one revolution around our Milky Way Galaxy. During this remarkable journey, life is influenced by calamitous changes. Comets and asteroids strike the surface of the Earth, stars explode near by, enormous volcanoes erupt, and more recently, humans litter the planet with waste. Many animals and plants become extinct during the voyage, but humble microbes, simple creatures made of a single cell, survive this journey. This book takes a tour of the microbial world, from the coldest and deepest places on Earth to the hottest and highest, and witnesses some of the most catastrophic events that life can face. Impossible Extinction tells this remarkable story for the general reader explaining how microbes have survived on Earth for over three billion years.
Charles Cockell is a microbiologist with the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute (SETI). He is based at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge.
1. The galactic roulette; 2. Primordial leftovers; 3. The microbial menagerie; 4. The record of catastrophe; 5. The sky falls in; 6. Supernova fry up; 7. Fire from below; 8. Intelligent stupidity; 9. The world is not enough?