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Natural Transfer of Viable Microbes in Space from Planets in the Extra-Solar Systems to a Planet in our Solar System and Vice-Versa

Valtonen, Mauri; Nurmi, Pasi; Zheng, Jia-Qing; Cucinotta, Francis A.; Wilson, John W.; Horneck, Gerda; Lindegren, Lennart LU ; Melosh, Jay; Rickman, Hans and Mileikowsky, Curt (2009) In Astrophysical Journal 690(1). p.210-215
Abstract
We investigate whether it is possible that viable microbes could have been transported to the Earth from planets in extra-solar systems by means of natural vehicles such as ejecta expelled by comets or asteroid impacts on such planets. The probabilities of close encounters with other solar systems are taken into account as well as the limitations of bacterial survival times inside ejecta in space, caused by radiation and DNA decay. The conclusion is that no potentially DNA/RNA life-carrying ejecta from another solar system in the general Galactic star field landed on the Earth before life already existed on the Earth, even if the microbial survival time in space is as long as tens of millions of years. However, if the Sun formed initially... (More)
We investigate whether it is possible that viable microbes could have been transported to the Earth from planets in extra-solar systems by means of natural vehicles such as ejecta expelled by comets or asteroid impacts on such planets. The probabilities of close encounters with other solar systems are taken into account as well as the limitations of bacterial survival times inside ejecta in space, caused by radiation and DNA decay. The conclusion is that no potentially DNA/RNA life-carrying ejecta from another solar system in the general Galactic star field landed on the Earth before life already existed on the Earth, even if the microbial survival time in space is as long as tens of millions of years. However, if the Sun formed initially as a part of a star cluster, as is commonly assumed, we cannot rule out the possibility of transfer of life from one of the sister systems to us. Likewise, there is a possibility that some extra-solar planets carry life that originated in our solar system. It will be of great interest to identify the members of the Sun's birth cluster of stars and study them for evidence of planets and life on the planets. The former step may be accomplished by the GAIA mission, the latter step by the SIM and DARWIN missions. Therefore it may not be too long until we have experimental knowledge to answer the question of whether the natural transfer of life from one solar system to another has actually taken place. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
meteors, meteoroids, planetary systems, astrobiology, stellar dynamics
in
Astrophysical Journal
volume
690
issue
1
pages
210 - 215
publisher
University of Chicago Press
external identifiers
  • wos:000262726600017
  • scopus:65549160175
ISSN
0004-637X
DOI
10.1088/0004-637X/690/1/210
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
01d0d7ec-5537-4f49-aff1-4542674a9b52 (old id 1312340)
date added to LUP
2009-03-13 14:15:57
date last changed
2017-01-01 06:31:57
@article{01d0d7ec-5537-4f49-aff1-4542674a9b52,
  abstract     = {We investigate whether it is possible that viable microbes could have been transported to the Earth from planets in extra-solar systems by means of natural vehicles such as ejecta expelled by comets or asteroid impacts on such planets. The probabilities of close encounters with other solar systems are taken into account as well as the limitations of bacterial survival times inside ejecta in space, caused by radiation and DNA decay. The conclusion is that no potentially DNA/RNA life-carrying ejecta from another solar system in the general Galactic star field landed on the Earth before life already existed on the Earth, even if the microbial survival time in space is as long as tens of millions of years. However, if the Sun formed initially as a part of a star cluster, as is commonly assumed, we cannot rule out the possibility of transfer of life from one of the sister systems to us. Likewise, there is a possibility that some extra-solar planets carry life that originated in our solar system. It will be of great interest to identify the members of the Sun's birth cluster of stars and study them for evidence of planets and life on the planets. The former step may be accomplished by the GAIA mission, the latter step by the SIM and DARWIN missions. Therefore it may not be too long until we have experimental knowledge to answer the question of whether the natural transfer of life from one solar system to another has actually taken place.},
  author       = {Valtonen, Mauri and Nurmi, Pasi and Zheng, Jia-Qing and Cucinotta, Francis A. and Wilson, John W. and Horneck, Gerda and Lindegren, Lennart and Melosh, Jay and Rickman, Hans and Mileikowsky, Curt},
  issn         = {0004-637X},
  keyword      = {meteors,meteoroids,planetary systems,astrobiology,stellar dynamics},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {210--215},
  publisher    = {University of Chicago Press},
  series       = {Astrophysical Journal},
  title        = {Natural Transfer of Viable Microbes in Space from Planets in the Extra-Solar Systems to a Planet in our Solar System and Vice-Versa},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/690/1/210},
  volume       = {690},
  year         = {2009},
}