Did cosmic dust carry life to Earth in the distant past ? Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Scientists believe that interstellar dust streams might be able to transfer organisms between planets.
The idea that life can be transferred around the cosmos on comets and asteroids - a concept known as panspermia - has been around for years, but now researchers at the University of Edinburgh have put forward the idea that even the smallest of particles may be capable of carrying life to other worlds.
The study centers around the fact that the Earth's atmosphere is being bombarded on a constant basis by fast-flowing streams of interplanetary dust particles.
If these particles were to collide with particles in our own atmosphere at sufficient velocity, there is a chance that they could be propelled out in to space and off towards other planets.
It is also possible that microorganisms such as tardigrades, which are known to survive in space, could hitch a ride on these particles and make their way to other worlds.
There is even a chance that alien organisms might have reached our own planet the same way.
"The proposition that space dust collisions could propel organisms over enormous distances between planets raises some exciting prospects of how life and the atmospheres of planets originated," said Professor Arjun Berera from the University of Edinburgh's school of physics and astronomy.
"The streaming of fast space dust is found throughout planetary systems and could be a common factor in proliferating life."
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