Sunday, July 23, 2006

Bacteria could have electromagnetically seeded the galaxay

New Scientist SPACE :
"The startling conclusion grew out of work by Tom Dehel, an electrical engineer at the US Federal Aviation Administration, who was investigating how electromagnetic fields in the Earth's atmosphere can affect GPS satellites and disrupt their use for aircraft navigation. He presented his findings at the biennial meeting of the international Committee on Space Research (COSPAR), in Beijing, China, this week.

Dehel calculated the effect of electric fields at various levels in the atmosphere on a bacterium that was carrying an electric charge. He showed that such bacteria could easily be ejected from the Earth's gravitational field by the same kind of electromagnetic fields that generate auroras. And these fields occur every day, unlike the extraordinarily large surface impacts needed to eject interplanetary meteorites."
[ . . . ]
The idea that microbes could be electrically levitated into the upper atmosphere was first suggested in 1908 by chemist Svante Arrhenius, but until recently there had been no direct measurements of the strength of electric fields high in the atmosphere to show whether the mechanism would work to propel microbes away from the planet.

Other researchers have already demonstrated that some bacterial spores can survive in conditions thought to exist in interplanetary space, and then be revived. So the possibility of interplanetary spread of life is plausible and deserves further investigation, Dehel believes.

Charged microbes could also be propelled outwards from a planet at high speed by “magnetospheric plasmoids” - independent structures of plasma and magnetic fields that can be swept away from the Earth’s magnetosphere. Hitching rides on these structures could accelerate microbes to speeds capable of taking them out of the solar system and on to the planets of other stars.

And because of the potential for a steady outflow of the particles pushed by the electric fields, a single life-bearing world might seed an entire galaxy with life, claims Dehel.


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