‘The future of research on the past’ outlines how the account of dinosaur extinction 65 Ma has developed. In the 1980s, Walter and Luis Alvarez examined levels of cosmic dust in the Earth’s crust and found evidence of a massive meteorite collision. This would have generated an enormous dust cloud that would have strangled all plant life and caused mass extinction. More recent research suggests a series of meteorite collisions along with huge volcanic eruptions may have contributed to the mass extinction. Can we learn from past experiences, helping us to preserve an inhabitable Earth for other species to inherit when the human race is finally gone?