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Has life from Earth spread to distant worlds ?

Posted on Wednesday, 29 January, 2020 | Comment icon 15 comments

Could it be that life from Earth has made it to a distant planet ? Image Credit: NASA/JPL
It is often suggested that alien life could have reached Earth on a comet, but what about the other way around ?
Scientists have long speculated over what processes might have given rise to life on other worlds.

One such process, which is known as panspermia, involves life from one planet being transported to another on asteroids and comets that have come into contact with an inhabited world.

While this theory is often put forward as an answer to how life on our own planet first emerged, comparatively little thought is given to the idea that this may have happened the other way around.

Could ancient microbes from Earth have hitched a ride to a planet in some distant solar system ?
According to astrophysicists Amir Siraj and Avi Loeb, such a scenario is actually possible.

The pair theorize that in Earth's distant past, a large, fast-moving comet could have grazed our planet's atmosphere, picking up microbes that became embedded deep within its surface.

If any of these managed to survive for thousands or even millions of years of travel through space, it is not inconceivable that they could have ended up deposited on a planet in a distant solar system.

It suggests that there could be another world out there inhabited by life seeded from Earth.

"It's a brand new field of science," said Siraj.

Source: Live Science | Comments (15)

Tags: Extraterrestrial

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by Tuco's Gas on 29 January, 2020, 16:47
The origin of life on Earth is far from obvious. It's one of the biggest unanswered questions in all of science, and arguably the biggest in the fields of Biology and Cosmology. Evolutionary theory also doesn't address life origin. Only the adaptation of organisms to their respective environments from acquiring advantageous physical traits due to random genetic mutation. And like the OP said, panspermia is a viable hypothesis. Especially since the mechanisms for abiogenesis have not been figured out yet, nor replicated by chemists in controlled settings. Miller-Urey didn't come very close a... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by Tuco's Gas on 29 January, 2020, 17:01
Spot on, mate. Those astronomical distances are really mind numbing. To scale: ifthe sun is a beach ball size, the Earth is a golf ball about 40 feet away. And the nearest star, proxima centauri? It'sis over 1400 miles away. Woah.
Comment icon #8 Posted by AllPossible on 29 January, 2020, 22:26
Ya I think about distances to other stars & cant even begin to imagine. Then I think of galaxies distance to each other & I get a full blown headache
Comment icon #9 Posted by Hazzard on 30 January, 2020, 7:49
You are thinking about this all wrong. There has been life on Earth for billions of years. An asteroid impact back then could have thrown tons of materials (with life) into space ... plenty of time to reach another starsystem, and crash into a planet. Panspermia, dude!
Comment icon #10 Posted by joc on 30 January, 2020, 13:01
Actually...dude...no that didn't happen. How do I know that didn't happen you might ask. I know that didn't happen because Life happened on Earth as a result of an Established Atmosphere already being in place. With the atmosphere in place and the gravity of Earth being what it is...and was then as well...there is no chance an asteroid hit the Earth and blew Life up and out of the atmosphere. It takes a tremendous force to exit our atmosphere. No way blow back from an asteroid hitting the Earth would have that force. Thanks but Panspermia...not so much.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Hazzard on 30 January, 2020, 16:15
Would you like to hang up and try again? The new study holds that the Chicxulub impact also launched 70 billion kilograms of rock into space... https://www.history.com/news/dinosaur-asteroid-may-have-sent-life-into-space Very welcome,dude.
Comment icon #12 Posted by joc on 30 January, 2020, 16:36
I think that is an unproven theory. But thanks. I'll go with what I said.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Hazzard on 30 January, 2020, 16:47
Of course its unproven that it actually sent rocks from Earth seeded with life to other planets. But I dont se anyone protesting the fact that a meteor can ejecttons of material in to space...with our atmosphere as it were.
Comment icon #14 Posted by joc on 30 January, 2020, 17:56
I am protesting it. Didn't happen.
Comment icon #15 Posted by joc on 30 January, 2020, 20:36
I will concur that it is a possibility that debris was launched into outer space by the asteroid you speak of. I will also concur that it is possible that some microbes did Escape Earth's atmosphere. We don't actually know that happened but it is a possibility. So I will give you that! Happy? :-)

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