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Panspermia hypotheses propose (for example) that microscopic life-forms that can survive the effects of space (such as extremophiles) can become trapped in debris ejected into space after collisions between planets and small Solar System bodies that harbor life. Some organisms may travel dormant for an extended amount of time before colliding randomly with other planets or intermingling with protoplanetary disks. Under certain ideal impact circumstances (into a body of water, for example), and ideal conditions on a new planet's surfaces, it is possible that the surviving organisms could become active and begin to colonize their new environment.
Bacteria riding on an incoming meteorite may be able to survive the violent shockwave created when it crash-lands on a planet. Their cell walls have been seen to rapidly harden and relax after a sudden shock compression, enabling them to bounce back even after an extreme collision.
Microbes can withstand extreme environments on Earth, including the crushing pressure of the deep ocean or deep beneath the ground. This suggests that life forms could thrive on distant worlds in similar high-pressure environments.
Hazael found that the microbes not only survived short blasts of pressure, but went on to reproduce in colonies. On Earth prior to and during the Late Heavy Bombardment 3.8 billion years ago, when the planet was hammered by meteorites, this type of bacteria could have not only survived but thrived.
This also means that bacteria might survive a spacecraft landing – or even crashing – on other planets. That would lend weight to the panspermia theory, in which comets or meteorites could potentially deliver life to otherwise sterile planets.
Extremophiles are organisms that have been discovered on earth that survive in environments that were once thought not to be able to sustain life. These extreme environments include intense heat, highly acidic environments, extreme pressure and extreme cold. Different organisms have developed varying ways of adapting to these environments, but most scientists agree that it is unlikely that life on Earth originated under such extremes.
The bacteria and archaea found in Kamchatka – and in other hot springs around the world – have unique adaptations that allow them to thrive at high temperatures.
A new microbe, for now called “Strain 121”, has since been discovered in a thermal vent deep in the Pacific Ocean. The microbe thrives at 121C and there are claims that it can even survive for two hours at 130C.
The conditions in Kamchatka also closely mirror those seen on some alien worlds in our solar system. If microbes can survive in hot springs here on Earth, on a diet of chemical energy from volcanoes, perhaps they could exist on other planets too.
Every day, bits of outer space rain down on the Earth. Leftover from our solar system’s birth 4.6 billion years ago, cosmic dust is pulled into our atmosphere as the planet passes through decayed comet tails and other regions of chunky space rock. Occasionally, it arrives on Earth in the form of visible shooting stars.
[A] recent paper took a closer look at the levels of sodium and iron in the atmosphere using Doppler Lidar, an instrument that can measure changes in the composition of the atmosphere. Because the amount of sodium in the atmosphere is proportional to the amount of cosmic dust in the atmosphere, the researchers figured out that the actual amount of dust falling to the earth is along the lines of 60 tons per day.
Interplanetary contamination is still of great concern to scientists today.
Mostly, they worry about single-celled, microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, some fungi, and viruses - or whatever the alien version of single-celled life looks like. We know for certain that bacteria and viruses can survive exposure to the harsh conditions of space long enough to hitch a ride to someplace more hospitable.
Extraterrestrial microbes might thrive in Earth’s environment, and they might out-compete many Earth microbes, just like today’s terrestrial invasive species — which are problematic enough without help from other worlds.
But humans aren’t the only ones in danger. Extraterrestrial microbes could rapidly wipe out Earth’s other animal species, plants, and microbes.Text That might actually be a more horrific scenario: humanity survives, but all the animals and plants we depend on for sustenance die off, or all the microbes that play such a vital role in our environment are displaced by alien microbes that don’t fill the same roles. There’s probably an excellent post-apocalyptic novel waiting to be built around that scenario.
Unfortunately, those same scientists believe that alien bacteria and viruses may still be raining down on us. These microscopic invaders have been blamed for all sorts of illnesses—from the everyday to the completely bizarre.
Discovered by French scientists in 2013, this bizarrely unique microorganism is only found in two places on Earth: off the coast of Chile and in a single Australian pond. It shares only 6 percent of its genetic makeup with the rest of life on Earth. This has led many to the conclusion that it isn’t actually native to Earth. It may seem silly, but researchers are seriously investigating the possibility that the Pandoravirus is alien in origin.
Bizarre microorganisms called prions are responsible for the infection, and some believe that their strangeness isn’t just coincidence.Researchers in India recently announced that the brain-attacking microbes may have come from a passing comet. The frozen balls of space dust have been found to contain chemical structures very similar to prions and other microorganisms.
Called Spanish flu, this disease infected one-third of the Earth’s population and claimed roughly 20 million lives. It was a uniquely deadly strain of a common virus, and English astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle had a theory as to why.
Comets, he thought, deposited frozen alien viruses into the atmosphere. They were then blasted down to the Earth’s surface by energy generated by sunspot activity. This activity peaks every 11 years, pushing more of the tiny invaders to ground level.
Convincingly, this 11-year cycle was shared by all global flu outbreaks for over 250 years, meaning that the Spanish flu disaster may have been Earth’s first large-scale alien invasion.
Ashley Dale of England’s Bristol University had a theory. Millions of years ago, he thought, the Ebola virus may have arrived on Earth from a meteorite collision. Citing evidence that microscopic life-forms have been shown to survive the vacuum of space, he believes that alien rocks would have made the perfect vehicle.
The sudden appearance of such a uniquely deadly disease gave many people, including scientists at England’s Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology, cause to wonder where it had come from. The scientists suspected that virus filled space dust could have drifted down through the atmosphere and landed east of the Himalayas, where the stratosphere is at its thinnest.
Then these microbes would have started infecting the locals, whose immune systems would have been defenseless against the alien germs. The theory, while bizarre, accounts for the strangely sudden outbreak and deadliness of the virus.
Responsible for AIDS, HIV is one of the most feared viruses on the planet. However, Chandra Wickramasinghe, a professor at England’s Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology, believes it’s more than just scary. He thinks it’s alien.
Wickramasinghe and his team believe that superviruses like HIV are constantly being introduced to the Earth by comet collisions. They even believe that one such virus may have been the real cause of the dinosaurs’ extinction.
No terrestrial virus, they argue, could be responsible for such devastation. In the case of HIV, they feel that it was probably a dormant Earth virus which absorbed strands of alien genetic material and became deadly.
For years, this mysterious ailment has plagued people around the world. Skin crawling sensations lead to bizarre fibers growing from the victim’s flesh. Rotting teeth and sleeplessness are also symptoms. Most troubling, though, is that testing of the odd strings reveal that they have no cellular structure and can’t be identified as any known material.
Theories abound about this horrifying illness, with many convinced that it doesn’t come from Earth at all. Some even believe that it could be the result of alien parasites that rode in on the Genesis space probe, which crashed in the Utah desert in 2004.
If all goes according to plan, two spacecraft will commence close encounters of the curious kind with two separate asteroids by the end of August. Their goal: to retrieve samples that may contain organic materials dating back to the solar system’s birth.
Hayabusa2 and OSIRIS-REx are not scheduled to return to Earth until 2020 and 2023, respectively, but the payoff will almost certainly be worth the wait.
originally posted by: Lr103
“The dried-up tardigrades were aboard the FOTON-M3 spacecraft launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) in September 2007 and were exposed to open space conditions” “After their safe return to Earth, it turned out that while most of them survived exposure to vacuum and cosmic rays alone, some had even survived the exposure to the deadly levels of solar UV radiation”.
(Cell Press. (2008, September 9). 'Water Bears' Able To Survive Exposure To Vacuum Of Space. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 6, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080908135906.htm)
That experiment, if I recall correctly, lasted several days, with the water bears OUTSIDE the spacecraft, and a significant number of them survived.
As many stars as there are in our galaxy (100 – 400 billion), there are roughly an equal number of galaxies in the observable universe—so for every star in the colossal Milky Way, there’s a whole galaxy out there. All together, that comes out to the typically quoted range of between 1022 and 1024 total stars, which means that for every grain of sand on every beach on Earth, there are 10,000 stars out there.
The science world isn’t in total agreement about what percentage of those stars are “sun-like” (similar in size, temperature, and luminosity)—opinions typically range from 5% to 20%. Going with the most conservative side of that (5%), and the lower end for the number of total stars (1022), gives us 500 quintillion, or 500 billion billion sun-like stars.
That suggests that there’s a potentially-habitable Earth-like planet orbiting at least 1% of the total stars in the universe—a total of 100 billion billion Earth-like planets. So there are 100 Earth-like planets for every grain of sand in the world.
“Religion is the human, social response to transcendence … Normative Judaism provides an excellent, time-tested path for sanctifying our minds, morals, and bodies, refining us as a people, improving the world, correlating our lives to the infinite God unfolding on the finite Earth.” His upshot? “I am Jewish. God is not.”
The rabbi’s theory can help us think about our neighbors in outer space, and our neighbors right here on this planet. If religion is a human response to divinity – even if that response is taught and initiated by divinity – then it’s obvious that those responses would differ according to the contexts in which they take shape. If Western Christians can learn to respect the religious experiences of good-willed aliens who are in their own ways responding to the divine, maybe they’ll be able to apply the same principles as they learn to live more peaceably with Muslims on Earth. And vice versa.
So, my question is...could an alien organism, that arrived on the debris from a disintegrating comet or meteorite, cause an epidemic, or even a pandemic on our planet?
The flu outbreak which has struck down tens of thousands of sufferers may have come from outer space, according to scientists based in Cardiff.
Astronomers at the University of Wales are challenging the view that the outbreak was caused by the bug being passed from person to person.
Instead they blame the spread of the illness - which brought many hospitals to a standstill - on solar activity which brought cosmic dust into the earth's atmosphere.
I heard from microbiologist Dr. Johnson at Arizona state university that every day 800,000,000 million viruses rain down on the earth on every square meter of land.