Professor Tomonori Totani of the University of TokyoJapan, believes that space dust could be a useful tool to help astronomers learn about something distant without having to leave the safety of our own planet and answer if aliens exist.
As a report published on the website of Subway UKAlthough the search for signs of life in small rocks ejected from other worlds sounds like science fiction, it might be worth serious consideration.
After huge collisions, such as asteroid impacts, a certain amount of material from an impacted world can be ejected into space. This material can travel great distances and for extremely long periods of time.
In theory, this material could contain direct or indirect signs of life on the host world, such as fossils of microorganisms.
Totani explained: “I propose that we study the well-preserved grains ejected from other worlds for possible signs of life. If there are signs of life in the dust grains, we might not only be sure, but we might find out soon as well.”.
The basic idea is that large asteroid impacts can eject terrestrial material into space. There is a possibility that recently deceased or even fossilized microorganisms may be contained in some rocky material in this ejecta.
Some much smaller pieces may be too small to contain verifiable signs of life, but grains in the region of 1 micrometer (one thousandth of a millimeter) could not only harbor a specimen of a single-celled organism, but could also escape into your system. host solar entirely and, under the right circumstances, perhaps even venture into ours.
Totani’s article published in the International Journal of Astrobiology explores this idea using the available data. Even so, the chances of space dust containing signs of life reaching us have several barriers such as heat and radiation.
Despite that, Totani calculates that around 100,000 such grains could land on Earth each year: “Such grains may already exist on Earth, and in abundant quantities, preserved in places like Antarctic ice or under the seafloor.”.
While recovering space dust from these locations might be relatively easy, distinguishing it from material originating in our own solar system remains a complex matter. Totani pointed out that if the search extended to space itself, missions that capture dust in a vacuum already existed.