Life might have been transported between worlds in space dust.
Astronomers have suggested that microscopic organisms, including tardigrades, might have been transported between worlds by space dust in streams that were fast moving.
INTERPLANETARY DUST STREAMS COULD TAKE LIFE TO AND FROM EARTH
Scientists have been of the belief that impacts by asteroids or comets might have been the natural way for transportation of life between planets. Now a new study seems to suggest that this was not the case.
Professor Arjun Berera authored the study from the School of Physics and Astronomy in Edinburgh and has come up with the suggestion that life on Earth might have started when streams of space dust that were traveling fast carried microscopic organisms to Earth.
The professor found that interplanetary dust streams are not just capable of taking particles to Earth but also taking them away from Earth.
ROUGHLY 220,000 POUNDS OF SPACE DUST FALL ONTO EARTH EVERY DAY
220,000 POUNDS OF SPACE DUST LANDS ON EARTH EVERY DAY
Interplanetary dust is made up of debris from asteroid collisions that occurred a long time ago, and it is pervasive in the solar system. Around 220,000 pounds of space dust is said to fall down onto Earth each day. The cosmic stream of dust travels together at around 44 miles per second.
The researchers came to the conclusion that the streams of dust are grazing Earth and colliding with particles of an organic nature that are found in the upper atmosphere. The small particles get trapped 93 miles or perhaps even higher in the atmosphere of the Earth and get knocked out with force that allows them to get out of the gravity of Earth.
When the particles break free out of the Earths bounds the dust flows pick up and then carry hitchhikers that are microscopic and take them off through interplanetary space.
TARDIGRADES COULD HITCHHIKE TO ANOTHER PLANET
There are some plants, bacteria, and animals, which are known by the name of tardigrades, that are able to survive out in space and they could get caught up in the dust and then hitchhike over to another planet.
The mechanism that was outlined in the study allowed for planets in the distance in the same solar system as Earth to exchange atmospheric particles with one another.
Berera said that the proposition that space dust might take organisms over long distances between planets in space brings about some exciting prospects about how life and atmospheres of planets originated. He went on to say that the streaming of fast space dust is typically found in the planetary systems and that it could be a common factor in proliferating life.