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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
Did Life On Earth Originate From Zombie Microbes?
Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 12:56 pm
I just wanted to put up a link to a nice story on panspermia, the idea that life began elsewhere in the universe and was somehow transported to Earth. The story comes from a Wired article I stumbled across and gives a new twist to an old idea.
In its modern form, panspermia imagines microbes catching rides in rocks blown across the galaxy via asteroid impacts on life-bearing worlds. But it may be that the microbes can't survive the interstellar journey. The new twist, proposed a couple of years ago, is that, even if the microbes are dead when the rocks crash to Earth, the information in their DNA might play a role in triggering or helping life here.
The scientific article the piece is based on is clearly VERY speculative. I don't know its fate but it is a cool idea to get you started on this shortened work week.