Life on Earth Came From Outer Space, Claims New Study

Wednesday, 13 December 2017 - 11:04AM
Wednesday, 13 December 2017 - 11:04AM
Life on Earth Came From Outer Space, Claims New Study
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Image credit: Pixabay
The further we get into exploring the solar system, the more it looks like naturally occurring life is a disappointingly rare phenomenon.

There are no solid traces of alien life on any world we've looked at in depth, suggesting that Earth might be an incredibly lucky rock, to have spontaneously developed living organisms where so many other worlds haven't seen that same spark of creation occur.

In an effort to understand just how unique and rare life on Earth might be, scientists have been trying to understand the initial moment that brought single-celled organisms into existence.

A new study from the University of Sherbrooke in Canada posits that many of the fundamental building blocks of life initially arrived at our planet from outer space by way of a meteor, possibly explaining why the formation of living beings is such a rare occurrence in such a large universe.

This theory comes as the scientists have proven that under conditions in space, where chemicals are exposed to radiation and extreme temperatures, organic compounds such as propylene, ethane and acetylene can form at random. These, potentially, could be the building blocks needed to light the spark of life when a meteor crashed on the Earth.

"I think this study is interesting because it's another pathway to produce organic molecules that are made more complex by radiation," said Professor Charles Cockell of the University of Edinburgh.

This certainly would explain the scarcity of life throughout the cosmos—it would take a very specific few chemicals, hurtling through space on an asteroid, which then get cooked by solar radiation to form fertile chemicals that then find a home in a fiery crash onto the surface of a planet that is uniquely suitable for providing a safe, nurturing environment for proto-life forms.

In other words, the odds of life forming on a planet might be so infinitesimally small that it's likely we'll never bump into alien life forms, no matter how far and wide we may search.

Of course, this theory isn't concrete proof that we're alone in the universe. All we know is that organic-ish matter can form when some ingredients are exposed to solar rays.

There's no proof that this is the only way that life can be created, or that this process would even lead to the creation of life to begin with.

This isn't even all that new of a theory—the idea of "panspermia" has long since argued that some of the essential building blocks of life on Earth may have traveled here from outer space.

This also doesn't preclude the possibility that alien life might develop in space.

Certainly, the presence of unidentified bacteria on the outer hull of the International Space Station is an indicator that simple life forms can thrive in outer space, so it might be that the development of life on other world's isn't entirely impossible, as tiny microscopic bugs hurtle through space after being mutated Fantastic Four style in a blast of cosmic rays.

While we may be getting closer to understanding the origins of life on this planet, the rare circumstances of our own creation doesn't necessarily mean that alien life is impossible. We just have to be very patient as we continue to hunt for it.
Life on Earth Came From Outer Space, Claims New Study