It is fascinating to think that each of the atoms in our body, our loved ones, even our pet, could come from the depths of outer space, and that probably, every part of what we are, has billions of years of antiquity.
But even more fascinating is to think that we ourselves are spreading the seed of life through space dust.
The exchange of atmospheric particles between distant planets could be the origin of life on Earth, and responsible for planting life Earth in the universe, as suggested by an investigation conducted by the University of Edinburgh.
Space dust, a means of transport for life
The rapid interplanetary dust flows that continuously bomb the atmosphere of our planet could release tiny organisms from far away worlds or send terrestrial organisms to other planets.
As detailed in the scientific publication, the dust streams may collide with biological particles in the atmosphere of the Earth with enough energy to deliver them to the space.
Such an event could allow bacteria and other life forms to make their way from one planet in the Solar System to another and, perhaps, beyond.
The finding suggests that large asteroid impacts may not be the only mechanism by which life could be transferred between planets, as previously thought.
Research at the University of Edinburgh calculated how strongly the spatial dust flows – which can move at a speed of up to 70 km per second – could collide with particles in our atmospheric system.
He discovered that small particles that exist more than 150 kilometers above the surface of the Earth could be hit beyond the limit of Earth’s gravity by space dust and eventually reach other planets.
According to this, it is possible that we are spreading the seed of life to other planets.
The same mechanism could allow the exchange of atmospheric particles between distant planets.
Can life endure this cosmic journey?
It is known that some bacteria, plants and small animals called tardigrades can survive in space, so it is possible that such organisms, if present in the upper atmosphere of the Earth, collide with space dust that moves quickly and support a trip to another planet.
“The proposition that space dust collisions could propel organisms at enormous distances between planets raises some interesting perspectives on how life and planetary atmospheres originated.” The fast-space dust transmission is found in all planetary systems and could be a common factor in the proliferation of life “, in the words of Professor Arjun Berera, lead author of the study.
The study, published in the prestigious journal Astrobiology, was funded in part by the Science and Technology Facilities Council.