Could Life on Earth Have Come From Space?

People who search for aliens on Earth are likely thinking of little green men and flying saucers in the sky, but what if they should be looking at tentacles in the sea? A recent paper claims that octopuses and other cephalopods have their origins on a different planet, brought here as eggs on some asteroid in our planet’s distant past.
It’s a pretty far-fetched idea, and almost certainly not true, but the idea of life on Earth originating from somewhere else is not as completely ridiculous as it might seem. The idea is called ‘panspermia,’ and while there’s not a whole lot of evidence supporting it, it’s also not impossible.
Panspermia, broadly defined, is the idea that living organisms or genetic material can travel between planets in our solar system, and even between our solar system and nearby stars.
Some life forms—like tardigrades and certain species of bacteria and fungus—can survive for extended periods in the vacuum of space. An experiment on the ISS found that a number of microbes survived just fine in space for nearly two years, and it’s almost guaranteed that some species can survive for longer. In fact, microorganisms surviving in space is such a problem for NASA that the agency has a ‘Planetary Protection Officer’ devoted to making sure it doesn’t happen by accident.
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NASA telescopes find clues on cosmic seeds for giant black holes

The examiner is misusing the term cosmicseeds, but this is an interesting article nonetheless. 😉

You might have a black thumb when it comes to earthly seeds, but cosmic seeds grow big and black, making supermassive black holes. Using data from NASA’s Great Observatories, astronomers have found the best evidence yet for cosmic seeds in the early universe that should grow into supermassive black holes.

Most people are familiar with the astronomical term “black hole,” but don’t really know what it means. For those that do, there’s some interesting findings soon to be published. Researchers combined data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope, and Spitzer Space Telescope to identify these possible black hole seeds. They discuss their findings in a paper (“First Identification of Direct Collapse Black Hole Candidates in the Early Universe in CANDELS/GOODS-S”) that will appear in an upcoming issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

“Our discovery, if confirmed, explains how these monster black holes were born,” said Fabio Pacucci of Scuola Normale Superiore (SNS) in Pisa, Italy, who led the study. “We found evidence that supermassive black hole seeds can form directly from the collapse of a giant gas cloud, skipping any intermediate steps.”

What are the current thoughts? Scientists believe a supermassive black hole lies in the center of nearly all large galaxies, including our own Milky Way. They have found that some of these supermassive black holes, which contain millions or even billions of times the mass of the sun, formed less than a billion years after the start of the universe in the Big Bang.

nasa-cosmicseeds

Illustration: NASA/CXC/M. Weiss

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https://www.examiner.com/article/nasa-telescopes-fin-clues-on-cosmic-seeds-for-giant-black-holes

Dust from the great beyond

Interstellar grains seen by the Cassini spacecraft lend support to the old panspermia hypothesis.
By Dirk Schulze-Makuch
airspacemag.com
April 21, 2016

After analyzing ten years of data from the Cassini spacecraft that’s been orbiting Saturn since 2004, a team of scientists led by Nicolas Altobelli of the European Space Agency in Madrid, Spain, reports finding dust that came from outside our solar system. Along with millions of ice-rich dust particles shed by Saturn’s moons, Cassini’s Cosmic Dust Analyzer detected a grand total of 36 grains that the scientists could trace back to the local interstellar cloud. That cloud is an almost empty bubble of gas through which our solar system is currently moving.
The small interstellar dust grains were zipping past Saturn at speeds of over 72,000 kilometers per hour (44,000 mph), which explains how they avoided becoming gravitationally trapped by the sun. This marks the first time scientists have been able to analyze material from outside our solar system. Intriguingly, the Cassini Cosmic Dust Analyzer saw the same kind of chemical and mineralogical make-up in the interstellar grains as it did in the local dust.
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