Panspermia Revisted

I always thought that the theory that life might have come, in part, from outer space, piggy backing on space rocks (meteoroids, asteroids) was a bit far fetched.  How could life survive the vacuum of outer space?  How could it survive near absolute zero temperatures?

But now we find here on Earth just such a family of creatures, which seem at first blush, unrelated to other life here.  I am referring to Tardigrades, millimeter sized creatures that can survive extreme temperature and pressure changes, survive high doses of radiation lethal to us, and go into a suspended “life” state (cryptobiosis) that allows them to “die”, and then be “reborn”, with a few drops of water.

Click on the picture to see a wonderful movie about an amateur naturalist who has been working on this story.

Author: Bob Mahoney

Physics teacher

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