Fast Litho-panspermia in the Habitable Zone of the TRAPPIST-1 System

©NASA

TRAPPIST-1 System

With several short-period, Earth-mass planets in the habitable zone, the TRAPPIST-1 system potentially allows litho-panspermia to take place on very short timescales. We investigate the efficiency and speed of inter-planetary material transfer resulting from impacts onto the habitable zone planets.

By simulating trajectories of impact ejecta from their moment of ejection until (re-)accretion, we find that transport between the habitable zone planets is fastest for ejection velocities around and just above planetary escape velocity. At these ejection velocities, ∼10% of the ejected material reaches another habitable zone planet within 102 yr, indicating litho-panspermia can be 4 to 5 orders of magnitude faster in TRAPPIST-1 than in the Solar System.

Sebastiaan Krijt, Timothy J. Bowling, Richard J. Lyons, Fred J. Ciesla
(Submitted on 5 Apr 2017)

Comments: Accepted for publication in ApJL
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:1704.01411 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1704.01411v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Sebastiaan Krijt
[v1] Wed, 5 Apr 2017 13:34:27 GMT (246kb,D)
https://arxiv.org/abs/1704.01411

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