Did life here begin out there?Posted: August 20, 2008
The hypothesis called galactic panspermia proposes that micro-organisms carried on comets or other space debris, could have landed on Earth and survived to give rise to life on this planet. This article at Wired.com makes for an interesting overview of the idea.
Certainly there are plenty of observations that can be seen to fit cohesively with panspermia’s hypothesis. For instance, organic molecules or the building blocks thereof seem to be plentiful in space. Liquid water is able to exist inside the warmed interior of comets bathed in solar rays. Earth-bound microbes can survive impact shocks such as those experienced by the numerous chunks of Martian rock that were blasted by cometary impact off the surface of Mars and since discovered on our planet. Life is weirder than we ever expected.
There are also plenty of skeptics and of course it is not an easy theory to test. As I read once, it is an idea slightly on the fringes of science, but firmly within the mainstream of the paranormal.
Still, let your imagination go wild thinking about it: there are countless planets in orbits similar to our own around their stars. If panspermia is correct, could life be widespread in the universe?