With immense advancements taking place in astronomical technology, astrophysicists have started to believe that they will not only be able to detect signs of alien life in exoplanetary objects but will also succeed in tracking its continuous spread all through the galaxy.
A study conducted by a team of astrophysicist under Henry Lin from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) has predicted that we might see scientists achieving this goal within a generation.
Also, according to the researchers conducting the study, the delivery system allowing alien biology to travel from one stellar system to another might be based on the hypothesis of panspermia.
For those who don’t know: the term “panspermia” is used for a process in which life somehow gets transplanted from one planet to another. This can happen when a planet, which is filled with life, gets hit by a huge asteroid. Pieces of the crust of that planet tend to get propelled into the space, and life present in those samples might get transplanted into another world.
When these robust life-forms complete the trip, an opportunity emerges for them for gaining a foothold and seeding life in their new environment.
Scientists talk about several other hypothetical mechanisms that can be adopted by life for hopping from one planet to another. One of the most widely discussed mechanisms among them is directed panspermia. Directed panspermia takes place when intelligent civilizations deliberately seed other stellar systems using capsules carrying their biological images.
Other ideas eliminate the necessity of the transplanted life to survive the journey, which means freeze-dried and dead biology clinging to space rocks can represent template of life in the newly seeded environment. The process is referred to as necropanspermia.
Right now, the processes discussed above are nothing more than hypotheses. The new study carried out under the leadership of Lin doesn’t specify how life may spread. However, what it is definitely suggesting is that the majority of the planetary bodies are capable of traveling from one planet to another.
For instance, a meteorite spotted on the surface of the Earth has been found to have its origins in Mars. Scientists found that the isotopic signature of the meteorite is same as that of the measurements put forward by the robots currently moving around the Red Planet.