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Did dinosaur asteroid send life to Mars ?

Posted on Thursday, 12 December, 2013 | Comment icon 24 comments

Did an asteroid impact send Earth life to Mars ? Image Credit: NASA/Don Davis
The asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs may have also catapulted life to Mars and elsewhere.
Panspermia is the idea that life, far from relying solely on its independent origination on any given world, is instead transported around the cosmos in comets, asteroids and other interplanetary bodies. Some believe that life on Earth (and possibly even Mars) may have arisen in this way.

Researchers in the US have taken this idea one step further by analyzing the possibility that life from Earth may have been spread throughout the solar system following the impact of the giant asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs. The research involved calculating the number of rocks capable of carrying life that would have been produced by the collision and where they may have ended up.

"We find that rock capable of carrying life has likely transferred from both Earth and Mars to all of the terrestrial planets in the solar system and Jupiter," said lead author Rachel Worth. "Any missions to search for life on Titan or the moons of Jupiter will have to consider whether biological material is of independent origin, or another branch in Earth's family tree."

Source: BBC News | Comments (24)

Tags: Panspermia, Mars, Asteroid

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #15 Posted by LimeGelatin on 12 December, 2013, 16:47
Or, did the Annunaki plant an "Alien Ant Farm" right here on this planet? -I like my question better...
Comment icon #16 Posted by scowl on 12 December, 2013, 16:59
Where are these animals on Earth getting bombarded with the levels of cosmic rays they would experience in outer space?
Comment icon #17 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 12 December, 2013, 22:54
There is growing evidence that Mars was suitable for life before Earth, so this is indeed possible, however we know that life existed on Earth 65 million years ago and we know that there was a massive impact at that time, so it is fair to theorise that the Chicxulub impact sent life to Mars. Some scientists belkieve that the moons of Jupiter and Saturn could have been seeded with life from Earth and/or Mars in the same way (see here: ) The oxygen in Earth's atmosphere is a bi-product of life. Life doesn't come with oxygen (nor does it need it) but oxygen can come from life. Ther... [More]
Comment icon #18 Posted by scowl on 12 December, 2013, 23:05
The Wikipedia article is confusing because it specifically says they can repair damage from cosmic rays, yet it says nothing about where this has been seen. It sounds like the article is yelling "They can survive in space!!!" when we don't really know that.
Comment icon #19 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 12 December, 2013, 23:28
Your two mistakes here are:[list=a] [*]assuming that wikipedia is a good source of in depth research findings [*]assuming that because YOU find something confusing means that NO ONE knows the answer [/list] I'm afraid both these assumptions are false. A quick Google search brings up these scientific articles: an article describing how simple life can survive the acceleration and decelerations involved. An article describing how micro-organisms can survive in a vacuum and high levels of UV radiation an article on how a more complex creature, the tardigrade, can survive in space. I f... [More]
Comment icon #20 Posted by highdesert50 on 13 December, 2013, 14:58
The water on Earth is largely the result of comet collisions. These same comets were colliding with Mars. It's probable Earth, Mars, and other planets were concurrently seeded with organics and prebiotic chemicals from these collisions. More complex life was sustained and evolved where conditions were optimal.
Comment icon #21 Posted by seeder on 13 December, 2013, 15:23
Where did the Earth's oceans come from? Most scientists think they came from water-rich asteroids and comets raining down on the planet in its youth. But now planetary scientists in Japan suggest the oceans were actually "home-grown" - they may have formed because the young Earth had a thick blanket of hydrogen, which reacted with oxides in the Earth's mantle to form lakes and seas.
Comment icon #22 Posted by scowl on 13 December, 2013, 17:00
Your first mistake: thinking that I ever said that Wikipedia is a good source of in depth research findings after someone cut and pasted directly from this article. Your second mistake: thinking that I said NO ONE knows the answer. If I thought that, why would I be wasting my time here, Sherlock? No mention of cosmic radiation. No mention of cosmic radiation. No mention of cosmic radiation. Did you not understand the question? I spent far more time looking for how they would survive cosmic radiation and came up with zilch. Maybe someone who knows something besides Google can answer... [More]
Comment icon #23 Posted by Duchess Gummybuns on 18 December, 2013, 0:49
I can imagine a T-Rex wearing swimming trunks, sunglasses, holding some can of soda, riding a chunk of meteor in space. Of course, he'd be the only one who discovered how to survive in space long enough to reach Mars. A bun can dream, right?

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