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In a new study published today in PLOS ONE, a team of Swiss and German scientists report that they dotted the exterior grooves of a rocket with fragments of DNA to test the genetic material’s stability in space. Surprisingly, they discovered that some of those building blocks of life remained intact during the hostile conditions of the flight and could pass on genetic information even after exiting and reentering the atmosphere during a roughly 13-minute round trip into space.
The rocket test may fall short of representing the faster speed and higher energy of a meteor hurtling into our atmosphere, but it does suggest that even if the outside of a meteor was scorched, genetic material in certain places on the meteor could survive higher temperatures than scientists had previously realized and make it to Earth. The findings are “a stop on the way to understanding what the limits are for DNA’s survival,” says research scientist Christopher Carr of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was not involved with the work but called the results “provocative.” The next steps, he says, would be to further pin down what temperature and pressure would ultimately kill DNA.
Samples of lichen collected from there also were cultured in the microbiology laboratory of TBGRI. The study showed that the lichen collected from the site gave rise to algae similar to the ones cultured from the spores obtained from the rain water samples. The spores in the rainwater, therefore, most probably are of local origin.
originally posted by: Asynchrony
a reply to: Indigent
This further confirms the validity of the theory that micro-organisms can be hurled through space to seed life on sterile planets with the conditions required to sustain the materials. That's an awesome discovery.
Later lifeforms evolved on Earth do not have this ability and are sensitive to radiation and space exposure.