Monday, October 31, 2011

Microbes Are Pre-adapted For Life In Space

The world's first artificial nuclear reactor was built in 1942. Prior to this poisonous pools of radioactive waste did not exist on Earth. Yet, more than a dozen different species of microbe have inherited the genes which enable them to survive, and even flourish, in radioactive conditions that could only be experienced in space. These microbes must have inherited the genes which made survival in space possible, from microbes which had lived in space. This supports the idea that not only could life have been brought to Earth on meteorites, but that material flowed between planets. In a series of experiments scientists have exposed various organisms to the radiation, and extremes of pressure and temperature they would need to survive to make the journey through space and enter our atmosphere protected within meteorites. Computer models also suggest that boulders, ejected from earth during major impact events such Chicxulub that occurred 65 million years ago, could reach Titan and Enceladus orbiting round distant Saturn.
Posted by Astrojenny

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