How Life on Earth could have Spread to other Parts of the Solar System

The theory regarding the transfer of life from the Earth to another planet in the universe is known as panspermia. Panspermia-theory says that, “Panspermia is a Greek word that translates literally as seeds everywhere.” The seeding of life to other worlds is categorized into three different types of transfer. 

Lithopanspermia is the interstellar transfer of life from one solar system to another. The distance to Alpha Centauri, the nearest solar system to Earth, is 4.22 light years.  It is unknown if life could survive eons of travel in outer space.

Ballistic panspermia is where rocks or particles are sheared off of one planet and are transferred to another planet in the same solar system. The transfer of life in this manner would seem a lot more likely to succeed.

Direct panspermia is where human beings would intentionally send the seeds of life to another planet or solar system. It has been suggested by some scientists that mankind send oxygen producing life to Mars to rebuild its atmosphere for future colonization. Since they are still unsure if life already exists on Mars, there are moral questions to be addressed before proceeding.

In the 4.5 billion years that Earth has been orbiting the sun, there have been numerous occasions where asteroids and comets have impacted the Earth. During the Cretaceous period, 65 million years ago, the Earth suffered an impact that sent a huge amount of rocky material into outer space. In those rocks, Life from the Earth could be in outer space right now waiting to be drawn in by gravity to another planet. 

Extremophiles, as explained by Carleton College, are forms of life that can exist under conditions that no other creatures can. It would be an extremophile embedded in a rock or particle that has been ejected from planet Earth to make lithopanspermia a reality. Because of the Earth’s close proximity to the sun, this type of life relocation would be difficult. The strong gravitational pull from the sun on those rocks and particles would prevent most of them from leaving this solar system.  

In conclusion, life could be transferred from the Earth to another solar system. A collision with another planet would produce enough force to expel life bearing rocky material from the Earth to space. There is a theoretical “Planet X” roaming the universe that some say could strike the Earth or pass by close enough to cause the Earth’s crust to be torn away into space. The theory of spreading life throughout the universe from Earth is sound. The search for life beyond planet Earth will continue until it is found.