The trajectories of life-bearing meteorites from Earth.

Some Japanese researchers did the math on the fate of the billions of tons of rocks and water that were tossed into space when Earth was hit by an asteroid 65M years ago. It turns out that much of that material probably bore life, and it wound up not just on the Moon, but also on on Mars and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. Some of the ejecta (about 1,000 rocks) would have even wound up on an Earth-like planet orbiting a red dwarf star, located 20 light years away. This math tells us that life would only have needed to evolve at 25 sites throughout the Milky Way for these sorts of spores from those planets to have seeded the entire galaxy with life. 

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

6 replies on “The trajectories of life-bearing meteorites from Earth.”

  1. ….which explains the origin of the battle between Godzilla and Mothra…spoiler alert, lots of people get trampled yea!!!

  2. Has there ever been any life on Earth that could survive any amount of time in the cold vacuum of space?

  3. There has been, but I’m afraid that my brain is failing to produce any working information about this. I recall reading some years ago that a researcher tested a series of bacterial life forms in conditions simulating those of space (radiation, no oxygen, etc.), and found some that would happily lie dormant until re-exposed to a habitable area.

    Water bears! Phew. I knew I’d come up with it. :) Yes, tardigrades (but I prefer their nickname) can survive in space. The things are really hard to destroy. And, of course, that’s one that we know about. Surely there are many others.

  4. It’s hard to grasp the scale we are talking about here. Similar to geologic time, space is in it’s own category in terms of size.

    I think it would be great to go to space, but not for a long time…say over 6months or so.

  5. I am unable to conceive of the mathematical complexity involved in producing this scenario. It’s just beyond amazing that all of the variables involved can be plotted relative to each other and postulated with formulaic proof by a group of any size, let alone a few people. Bravo to the theoretical physicists of the world! May they never have children that suffer for their attentions while they compute concepts mentally (assuming they can’t miraculously multitasking at the same time)!

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