Panspermia and meteorites

17 Jun 2010

At Daily Galaxy we have an interesting story on June 15th (www.dailygalaxy.com) .... on meteorites and panspermia. This might be a bad example of scientists using large rocks to find evidence of panspermia when it was originally suggested it arrived on earth via particles and debris with an origin in comets - material flared from the surface of comets and captured by the atmosphere of the earth. Meteorites also have an origin in space - but ten per cent of those that strike earth have been found to have an origin on Mars. Others come from the Moon and various other solar system locations - but comets, in contrast, have an origin in deep space. However, you work with what you have in hand I suppose, a bit of old wood to plug a hole in a fence for example or a meteorite in place of comet dust. In this case scientists created artificial meteorites in order to see if life could survive the high temperatures of the entry through our atmosphere - yet alone their actual survival in the atmosphere before actually striking the ground. The idea was to find out if bacteria might reach the ground still alive or with the ability to burst into life. . They were attached to a Russian Foton M3 capsule and some bugs, the most basic ones, did not survive the adventure, but bacteria already embedded in the rock (from however long ago) did appear to survive, but the disappointing result is seen as a negative as far as the idea that life started as a result of meteorites spawned in our solar system are concerned.