Could there be Life in Space?
Imagine... we are in space and we can see the Earth. We zoom in for a closer look. This is not the Earth as we know it, but the Earth as it was more than three-and-a-half billion years ago. The Moon is newly formed, from a colossal collision between the proto-Earth and another proto-planet, the size of Mars.
The Earth is rocky, cloudy and lifeless. It is warm - warmer than now - but our planet is cooling to a pleasant temperature, just right for life to survive. Oceans are beginning to form from rain, which is falling from clouds of water vapor in the thick carbon dioxide atmosphere.
In the distance the young Sun is a brilliant white, but smaller and less energetic than in the age of mankind.But how did life on Earth start? What happened?No one knows for sure, but scientists have several ideas.
It may have formed in the oceans, where carbon-rich, organic chemicals created amino acids - the basic building blocks of life. It may have formed deep underground, in tiny cracks in Earth's rocks. Or maybe life was brought to Earth from space, perhaps by a comet crashing into our planet....
We are back in space and there is a comet approaching. Gravity is pulling it towards the Earth. It will crash into the Earth.
Deep inside the comet is a small lump of ice and deep inside the lump of ice... Is it a tiny living cell, a microbe? How can we find out?
Let us start out on our own quest to search for life. We will start on Earth but our journey take us into space and off towards the stars...
More on impacts: Go to Simulation from Sandia Labs
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