BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A recently released study is offering an intriguing new theory about the possible origins of life throughout the universe. Namely, it suggests that this could travel from one world to another on space dust.
The Latest Theory Targeting Space Dust
The latest findings are a variant of the theory of panspermia, which dates as far back as the ancient Greek philosopher Anaxagoras. This suggests that rather than evolving in each individual world, organisms (generally microscopic ones) can travel through the cosmos and ‘colonize’ new places.
Usually, the theory of panspermia requires either an alien intervention or, more mundanely, asteroids to transport life from one world to another. It has been demonstrated that big impacts can blast rocks into space and onto other planets. This was proven, among others, by the fact that scientists discovered several Martian rocks here on Earth.
However, this new study suggests that something as small as space dust, which our planet is covered with every day, could also act as an interplanetary ‘pollinator’.
Arjun Berera, a professor of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Physics and Astronomy and the study lead, explains that this dust hits our planet at in between 22,400 mph to 157,000 mph or 36,000 to 253,000 km/h. At such speeds, he says, it could easily bump dust from our atmosphere (93 miles, or 150 kilometers, above the surface) into space. There, this could then carry microscopic organisms to other worlds.
It has been proven that microorganisms can survive in space, though right now, the question is whether or not they would be able to endure an impact at such great speeds. Even if the microorganisms did die, however, Berera notes that the space dust would still carry life’s building blocks to other planets. There new, alien organisms might be able to arise from the remains of the Earthly ones.
Detailed study findings were published in the journal Astrobiology.
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