Technical Entry – Panspermia

For a long time, the dominant theories of where life on Earth originated was either in tidal pools or deep-sea thermal vents… the only places with sufficient energy and movement to allow a chemical soup to permit abiogenesis. However, in the late 20th century, another theory began to emerge as people realized how many of those conditions existed just as easily or easier in space. Panspermia (from Ancient Greek pan meaning ‘all’, and sperma meaning ‘seed’) is the hypothesis that life exists throughout the universe, distributed by space dust, meteoroids, asteroids, comets, planetoids, and also by spacecraft carrying unintended contamination by microorganisms. Distribution may have occurred spanning galaxies, and so may not be restricted to the limited scale of solar systems.

Panspermia hypotheses propose that microscopic life-forms that can comfortably thrive in space, such as extremophiles, can either develop through the mingling of chemical soup churning in the solar wind and gravity fluctuations, or develop on another planet and become trapped in debris ejected into space after collisions between their planets and other stellar objects. From the early 1970s, it started to become evident that interstellar dust included a large component of organic molecules. Interstellar molecules are formed by chemical reactions within very sparse interstellar or circumstellar clouds of dust and gas. The dust plays a critical role in shielding the molecules from the ionizing effect of ultraviolet radiation emitted by stars. Some organisms may travel dormant for an extended amount of time before colliding randomly with other planets or intermingling with protoplanetary disks. Under certain ideal impact circumstances – into a body of water, for example – it is possible that the surviving organisms could become active and begin to colonize their new environment. At least one report finds that endospores from a type of Bacillus bacteria found in Morocco can survive being heated to 420 °C (788 °F), making the argument for panspermia even stronger. Panspermia can explain the origins of life, but the studies on it concentrate less on how life began but instead on methods that may distribute it in the universe.

This method of life spreading would propose facts that match the fact-pattern of this story so far – that all life likely to be found would, in fact, be biocompatible… made of the same building blocks, the same 4 DNA amino acids, and while it wouldn’t follow the same evolutionary paths it would come from a common origin… in this story, appears that may be the Dark Star, pushing away from it on the rocks expelled from the whale-creatures.