Dead cosmonauts can sow life on other planets - scientists
Today, several states and private companies are working on the idea of sending people to the Moon, Mars, and even planning to land on asteroids.
Such activity outside of low-Earth orbit significantly increases the risk to the health and life of space travelers. However, scientists assume that it is the accidental death of an astronaut that can sow life on other worlds.
Microbiologist Gary King (Gary King) from the University of Louisiana in the United States believes that the human body is the ideal "container" for the delivery of bacteria and a basic set of organic matter to distant planets.
Under certain circumstances, microbes inside a corpse can survive for a long time in the harshest space conditions, especially on such planets as Mars.
King specializes in the study of microorganisms that live in the most extreme places of our planet.Based on the data collected, he worked on a number of scenarios in which an accident could contribute to the spread of life in the solar system, and perhaps even beyond.
“We pulled out of the permafrost microorganisms that remained alive in a state of suspended animation for about one million years. Such bacteria can easily transfer flight to nearby planets, as well as some non-spore-forming microbes, ”the scientist said in an interview with Astronomy Magazine.
As an example, the researcher cites an extremophile microorganism of the species Deinococcus radiodurans, which is one of the most resistant to the radiation of the organisms of the Earth, and can also survive almost without water.
True, in order for death to give rise to a new life, it is necessary to observe a number of conditions. First, if the cosmonaut’s death occurs during the flight, the body must remain inside the spacecraft to enter the planet’s atmosphere. And after a fall, the tightness of the device body must be broken so that the microorganisms can spread beyond its limits.
In addition, for the long-term preservation of the viability of microbes, they need periodic access to water molecules, which is possible at temperatures above freezing or in conditions of freeze-drying,when water passes from solid to gaseous state, bypassing the liquid.
It is easier for microbes to survive within the solar system, since during a long flight to neighboring stars, for example, to Proxima Centauri, they will undergo a much greater radiation effect, King notes. Cosmic radiation in the interstellar space will cause a change in DNA and RNA molecules, which will complicate the further development of bacteria.
But King believes that even in the event of the death of all microorganisms, a set of organic substances in the body of a dead cosmonaut can help the emergence of new living beings on another planet. True, for this the body must fall to the surface of the world, where ideal conditions for the development of life already exist, but some key elements for its origin are absent.