Archive for the ‘P is for Panspermia’ Category

P is for Panspermia

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

Panspermia is a theory that suggests that life on Earth was created by alien space-based spores who hitched a ride on the backs of meteorites and comets, enduring the extreme cold of interstellar space, ultraviolet radiation and cosmic death rays, eventually landing on Earth spreading their “seeds” to sprout life. This alternative theory to biogenesis, today’s accepted notion that life formed naturally on Earth through chemical complexity, was originally presented in the fifth century by Greek scientist Anaxogoras, and championed during the 1970s by iconoclasts Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramsinghe who suggested that these space-travelers were microbes. Considering that bacteria are highly simple yet complex self-replicating organisms that could serve as a starter-kit for life, over the years Panspermia has been taken more seriously and embraced by leading scientists such as Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of DNA, and genomics researcher Craig Venter. And while there are various competing theories that include the hypothesis that life began as an RNA world, it has been recently reported that both Will Wright, in his development of the game Spore, and Zaha Hadid, with her architectural rendering of the Performance Arts Center in Abu Dhabi, chose to draw their inspiration from Panspermia. As to why Panspermia theory is culturally relevant in our time is simple: Just like these bacterial seeds that fell from space to sprout life on Earth, it’s overtly apparent that the driving desire of today’s society is to be a part of the universality of life. May all cosmic creatures everywhere unite.