Those who are intrigued by the possibility of extraterrestrial life may be interested in a study that indicates that Earth itself could have been the source of life on other planets and moons in our solar system.
The study looked at the dispersion of debris from asteroid impacts on the Earth’s surface. It found that such debris is far more likely to reach Mars, or even Jupiter and Saturn and their moons, than was previously thought. If such debris contained small life forms, they therefore could have reached other places that are capable of sustaining life. Of course, any microbes and other organisms on the debris would have to be hardy enough to survive years of travel through space, exposure to radiation, the fall to the surface of another planet, and the different atmospheres and living conditions on those planets — but we know that there are organisms that can survive such conditions, and we also know that life is tenacious and is found in even the most hostile and extreme climates on Earth.
We won’t know, of course, whether this scenario could actually have produced life elsewhere until we find such life and test it. If we do find such life, however, it will give new meaning to the phrase “Mother Earth.”