- February 15, 2022
Transfer Of Rocks Between Planetary Systems: Panspermia Revisited
Motivated by the recent discovery of interstellar objects passing through the solar system, and by recent developments in dynamical simulations, this paper reconsiders the likelihood for life bearing rocks to be transferred from one planetary system to another.
The astronomical aspects of this lithopanspermia process can now be estimated, including the cross sections for rock capture, the velocity distributions of rocky ejecta, the survival times for captured objects, and the dynamics of the solar system in both its birth cluster and in the field. The remaining uncertainties are primarily biological, i.e., the probability of life developing on a planet, the time required for such an event, and the efficiency with which life becomes seeded in a new environment.
Using current estimates for the input quantities, we find that the transfer rates are enhanced in the birth cluster, but the resulting odds for success are too low for panspermia to be a likely occurrence. In contrast, the expected inventory of alien rocks in the solar system is predicted to be substantial (where the vast majority of such bodies are not biologically active and do not interact with Earth).
Fred C Adams, Kevin J Napier
Comments: 18 pages, 3 figures, to appear in Astrobiology
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:2205.07799 [astro-ph.EP (or arXiv:2205.07799v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
From: Fred C. Adams
[v1] Mon, 16 May 2022 16:44:49 UTC (2,932 KB)’