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NATURAL TRANSFER OF VIABLE MICROBES IN SPACE FROM PLANETS IN EXTRA-SOLAR SYSTEMS TO A PLANET IN OUR SOLAR SYSTEM AND VICE VERSA

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 (2009) NATURAL TRANSFER OF VIABLE MICROBES IN SPACE FROM PLANETS IN EXTRA-SOLAR SYSTEMS TO A PLANET IN OUR SOLAR SYSTEM AND VICE VERSA. The Astrophysical Journal, 690, pp. 510-515. The American Astronomical Society. DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/690/1/210. ISSN 0004-637X.

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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.

Document Type:Article
Title:NATURAL TRANSFER OF VIABLE MICROBES IN SPACE FROM PLANETS IN EXTRA-SOLAR SYSTEMS TO A PLANET IN OUR SOLAR SYSTEM AND VICE VERSA
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Valtonen, MauriTuorla Observatory, Turku University, FIN-21500 Piikkiö, Finland
Nurmi, PasiTuorla Observatory, Turku University, FIN-21500 Piikkiö, Finland
Zheng, Jia-QingTuorla Observatory, Turku University, FIN-21500 Piikkiö, Finland
Cucinotta, Francis A.NASA Johnson Space Center, 2101 NASA Road 1, Houston, TX 77058, USA
Wilson, John W.NASA Langley Research Center, Mail Stop 111, Hampton, VA 23681–2199, USA
Horneck, GerdaUNSPECIFIED
Lindegren, LennartLund Observatory, Lund University, Box 43, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden
Melosh, JayDepartment of Planetary Sciences, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, 1629 East University Boulevard, Tucson, AZ 85721–0092, USA
Rickman, HansDepartment of Astronomy and Space Physics, Uppsala University, Box 515, SE-75120 Uppsala, Sweden
Mileikowsky, CurtRoyal Institute of Technology (KTH), SE-10044 Stockholm, Sweden
Date:2009
Journal or Publication Title:The Astrophysical Journal
Refereed publication:Yes
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Volume:690
DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/690/1/210
Page Range:pp. 510-515
Publisher:The American Astronomical Society
ISSN:0004-637X
Status:Published
Keywords:astrobiology, meteors, meteoroids, planetary systems, stellar dynamics
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Space (old)
HGF - Program Themes:W FR - Forschung unter Weltraumbedingungen (old)
DLR - Research area:Space
DLR - Program:W FR - Forschung unter Weltraumbedingungen
DLR - Research theme (Project):W - Vorhaben Strahlenbiologie (old)
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Radiation Biology
Deposited By: Kerstin Kopp
Deposited On:15 Dec 2008
Last Modified:26 Mar 2013 13:09

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