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Earth Life Possibly Could Reach Titan

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the bacteria-with-heavy-coats-now-thriving-there dept.

237

dylanduck writes "New simulations show that big asteroid impacts on Earth could have sent about 600 million boulders flying into space. About 100 have reached Jupiter's moon Europa - but they landed at 24 miles/sec. 'This must be rather frustrating if you're a bacterium that survived launch from Earth,' says a researcher. But 30 boulders from each impact reach Titan - and they land gently." From the article: "'I thought the Titan result was really surprising - how many would get there and how slowly they'd land,' Treiman told New Scientist. 'The thing I don't know about is if there are any bugs on Earth that would be happy living on Titan.' Titan's surface temperature is a very cold -179C and its chemistry is very different from Earth's."

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First post be-aches (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945503)

Frosty Pist?

Re:First post be-aches (-1, Offtopic)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945674)

And then it promptly froze to a yellow ice-cicle on Titan

Its life Jim, but not as we know it. (5, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945511)

Lawyers.

They can survive anywhere.

Re:Its life Jim, but not as we know it. (4, Funny)

dpreston (906415) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945614)

Keith Richards and cockroaches my favorite quote (I forget who), "Keith will look over at the cockroach and say, 'You know, I smoked your uncle...'"

Re:Its life Jim, but not as we know it. (1)

Coldeagle (624205) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946145)

You are quoting Robin Williams from Live on Broadway

Re:Its life Jim, but not as we know it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945860)

--Lawyers.
They can survive anywhere--

Great...
when do we ship them off?

Re:Its life Jim, but not as we know it. (1, Flamebait)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945964)

Lawyers.

They can survive anywhere.


If they're trial lawyers you need at least two of 'em or they'll starve.

Airborne bacteria? (5, Interesting)

Bahumat (213955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945523)

Leads to the interesting possibility of xenophilic bacteria and algae impacting Jupiter and having their entry slowed greatly by the thick atmosphere. The deeper it goes, the warmer it gets, and there are bands in Jupiter's atmosphere that are comparable to Earth's atmosphere, past and present.

Might be interesting to one day discover man was far from the first Earth-borne species to begin colonizing other planets in the solar system.

Re:Airborne bacteria? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945564)

Leads to the interesting possibility of xenophilic bacteria and algae impacting Jupiter and having their entry slowed greatly by the thick atmosphere.

On the other hand, the Earth was apparently seeded by xenophobic bacteria that was kicked off their home planet.

Re:Airborne bacteria? (1, Interesting)

AnonymousPrick (956548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945750)

On the other hand, the Earth was apparently seeded by xenophobic bacteria that was kicked off their home planet.

Wouldn't that be something if we've evolved from bacteria that was orginally the cause of some cold/illness of life on another planet?

Re:Airborne bacteria? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945824)

As someday our triumphant ancestors, finally making First Contact, are killed by their cold remedies.

Re:Airborne bacteria? (4, Funny)

AnonymousKev (754127) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945892)

s/ancestors/descendants/g

Unless, of course, time travel is also involved.

Re:Airborne bacteria? (2, Funny)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945900)

> Wouldn't that be something if we've evolved from
> bacteria that was orginally the cause of some
> cold/illness of life on another planet?

Sci-fi authors are decades ahead of ya already. Someone wrote a story a long time ago where all life on earth evolved when an alien spacecraft stopped by a barrene, lifeless planet, and let the doglike creature out for...a poop. Bacteria in the p00p took a foothold and started evolving.

Now wouldn't that be something! The ultimate slap in the face to the Bible thumpers. Not only are you evolved from simple organisms, you are essentially a doop00pchugger at heart.

Re:Airborne bacteria? (4, Insightful)

linguizic (806996) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946166)

Wouldn't it be something if everyone stopped dodging the most likely possibillity that life started on this planet?

Re:Airborne bacteria? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945731)

Agreed,

I always wondered if inside Jupiter's atmosphere there are layers with sufficient heat, and low pressure, to be able to support life. IRC, Carl Sagan did some specullation about it, and created an imaginary ecosystem that could exist inside Jupiter's atmosphere.

Just look at our oceans, there are lots of life there, even complex organisms as fish, living at extreme pressures.

Re:Airborne bacteria? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945951)

Interesting idea... Although anything that survived a trip from earth would probably be deep inside the boulder/rock. I'd think that whatever bacteria inside would have to exit pretty quickly before the rock fell into the dense layers of the atmosphere. :)

If fungus can grow on the outside of Mir... (2, Insightful)

Dukeofshadows (607689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946028)

...why shouldn't bacteria from Earth be able to grow on Titan? Microbes are amazingly hardy organisms, they can thrive as chemotrophs at the bottom of the ocean near volcanic vents or in other incredibly hot temperatures (one such microbe has an enzyme that lets biologists amplify DNA for legal and research purposes). If they can survive the extremes of air, ocean depth, and heat, why not those of cold and darkness?

Mir was a good example... (5, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946150)

And NASA carried out a related experiment not too long ago, plastering microbes on a surface they then exposed to the hard vaccuum & hard radiation of space. The microbes stopped growing in space, but went into a suspended state. When returned to Earth, they revived and did not appear to have been harmed any by the experience.


(Given that gigantic, green tentacled monsters haven't been stalking NASA bases recently, we can also assume that not only were they not killed off, they did not suffer significant mutation from the radiation. Actually, the study indicated that no obvious mutations had occured of any kind, implying that the DNA was highly resiliant to the effects of ionizing radiation.)


On the basis of Mir and the NASA experiment, it can reasonably be concluded that microbes can survive interplanetary travel, more-or-less intact, at least within the solar system. Deep space is far, far nastier and the present experiments don't show that interstellar microbial travel is possible... but it doesn't rule it out, either.


We believe that microbes can remain in a suspended state for tens of thousands of year (or perhaps millions), on the basis of studies of microbes discovered in ice core samples. It's not easy to rule out contamination, but the experiments seem repeatable. It is possible to imagine that microbes may be present in some geodes. They would certainly be present inside rocks that have fissures caused by flowing water or ice cracking.


Once you're talking of microbes on the inside of rock, then impact velocities would be much less important. The rock would absorb much of the impact, and the shattering of the rock would be a very useful way for the microbes to be released. In the case of interstellar travel, it would also provide better shielding. Ideally, you'd want rock from the Peak District in the UK - some places have a nice mix of galena (lead ore), calcite and blue feldspar. I could easily imagine a meteorite with such a mix containing microbes in amongst the calcite, and lead casing would improve the odds of surviving the millions - if not billions - of years needed to travel between systems.


(This is not to say this has happened, and I'm sure I'm going to get my wrist slapped by a geologist who will point out all the flaws in my reasoning. However, if in the year 3000 we finally reach Alpha Centauri and find a planetoid with bird flu on it, they'd better damn well name the planetoid after me.)

Re:Airborne bacteria? (5, Informative)

isomeme (177414) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946043)

there are bands in Jupiter's atmosphere that are comparable to Earth's atmosphere, past and present.

There is certainly a broad layer where the pressure and temperature are roughly Earthlike. However, there is nowhere in Jupiter's atmosphere where the composition is more than vaguely similar to Earth's primal (prebiotic) atmosphere, and nowhere similar to Earth's current atmosphere at all. There is effectively no free oxygen in Jupiter's atmosphere, and only tiny traces of anything other than hydrogen and helium. Most of the traces are simple alkanes and water.

That Would Be A Very Tough Bug (-1, Redundant)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945524)


"New simulations show that big asteroid impacts on Earth could have sent about 600 million boulders flying into space. About 100 have reached Jupiter's moon Europa - but they landed at 24 miles/sec.
Ok, I'll bite, how do they know they came from Earth rather than, say were asteroids? A lot of asteroids look like they broke away from something as they're irregular in shape, perhaps there's other likely origins. But this has gone from 'could have' to did without convincing me. After all, we see supposed martian rock on earth. Who's really to say that those martian rocks broke from Mars, rather than are the stuff Mars is made up of and some of it landed on Earth, or some other theory.
'This must be rather frustrating if you're a bacterium that survived launch from Earth,' says a researcher. But 30 boulders from each impact reach Titan - and they land gently." From the article: "'I thought the Titan result was really surprising - how many would get there and how slowly they'd land,' Treiman told New Scientist. 'The thing I don't know about is if there are any bugs on Earth that would be happy living on Titan.' Titan's surface temperature is a very cold -179C and its chemistry is very different from Earth's."
That's a tough bug. The temperature isn't such a big deal and time isn't either, as there are bacteria found in Antarctica which were left over from when it was more temperate. Tough bugs, sure, but traveling through space also means withstanding the full bore radation of Mr. Sun, with no atmosphere to protect you. I'm not sure I want to meet one of these in a dark alley. From the article: "'I thought the Titan result was really surprising - how many would get there and how slowly they'd land,' Treiman told New Scientist. 'The thing I don't know about is if there are any bugs on Earth that would be happy living on Titan.' Titan's surface temperature is a very cold -179C and its chemistry is very different from Earth's."

Re:That Would Be A Very Tough Bug (5, Interesting)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945551)

How about this [pnl.gov] :

Named the World's Toughest Bacterium by the Guinness Book of Records, the large red spheres of Deinococcus radiodurans (translation: strange berry that withstands radiation) can not only endure acute radiation doses of up to three million rads but more remarkably, can actually grow when exposed to radiation continuously.

You really don't want to meet this in a dark alley, however with that much radiation, I doubt it would be dark for long.

Re:That Would Be A Very Tough Bug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945582)

There's some more anecdotal evidence that damage to DNA in humans can be repaired, leading to a greatly extended lifespan, I hope. At least it's some kind of proof-of-concept.

Re:That Would Be A Very Tough Bug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945577)

Ok, I'll bite, how do they know they came from Earth rather than, say were asteroids?

Because they're talking about in the simulation, not in the real world. But, if their simulation models physics exactly, then an asteroid strike exactly like that they simulated would have put about 100 boulders on Titan.

Re:That Would Be A Very Tough Bug (3, Informative)

linguizic (806996) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945579)

Bacteria survived several years on the lens cap of a camera left on the moon. It's resilient stuff!

Re:That Would Be A Very Tough Bug (1)

platypuszero (825061) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945597)

Hmm... so basically we are inoculating bacterial franchises?

Re:That Would Be A Very Tough Bug (1, Funny)

Gordo_1 (256312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946021)

Riiiiight... and by "moon" you mean a soundstage in Nevada. [primeline-america.com] ;-)

R.T.F.A. (1, Insightful)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945580)

"The team ran computer models of such giant impacts, estimating that each would send about 600 million boulders into space to orbit the Sun. Some of those launched at relatively high speeds - faster than 6 kilometres per second - got as far as Jupiter and Saturn in about a million years.

In the simulations, about 100 of the boulders from each impact reached Jupiter's moon Europa. "

UNFOUNDED I TELL YOU!!! They're just pulling these numbers out of thin air!! Ludicrous!!!

The whole thing was a simulated what-if, something made abundantly clear from start to finish. They "Know" these impacts happened and at precisely what speed because IT WAS A FEKKING SIMULATION, DAMN IT!

Sheesh.

Re:R.T.F.A. (4, Informative)

Karzz1 (306015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945658)

"The whole thing was a simulated what-if, something made abundantly clear from start to finish. They "Know" these impacts happened and at precisely what speed because IT WAS A FEKKING SIMULATION, DAMN IT!"

This is true, but also stated in the article "The cause of such impacts would be comets or asteroids between 10 and 50 kilometres wide, Gladman told New Scientist: "The kind of thing that killed the dinosaurs."" meaning that these numbers were not just pulled out of an orifice but rather based on actual historical earth impacts. Is it proof that these rocks made it to Titan (and in the numbers estimated)? No. But it is probable. The last line of the article sums it up nicely; "Gladman agrees that life may be unlikely to survive once on Titan. But he says major impacts may have happened "tens of times" throughout Earth's history and that these could have sent Earth rocks to other solar system bodies. "I just set out to answer this question: is it possible to get something there?" he says. "The answer is yes."". Draw your conclusions from there.

That's the point. (1)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945724)

It is proof of possibility, not proof of actuality. The article was quite clear about this.

"Would," "Could," "Possibly," "May Have." PERHAPS they MIGHT be saying that this is POTENTIALLY SPECULATIVE.

Your points are moot. (4, Insightful)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945606)

That's a tough bug. The temperature isn't such a big deal and time isn't either, as there are bacteria found in Antarctica which were left over from when it was more temperate. Tough bugs, sure, but traveling through space also means withstanding the full bore radation of Mr. Sun, with no atmosphere to protect you. I'm not sure I want to meet one of these in a dark alley. From the article: "'I thought the Titan result was really surprising - how many would get there and how slowly they'd land,' Treiman told New Scientist. 'The thing I don't know about is if there are any bugs on Earth that would be happy living on Titan.' Titan's surface temperature is a very cold -179C and its chemistry is very different from Earth's."
http://www.space.com/searchforlife/seti_saltlovers _050721.html [space.com] First thing I searched for is bacteria and radiation lovers. They are life forms on earth that can survive this type of conditions. Also, it is a fact that bacteria survived on the moon for three years during the Apollo missions.
Ok, I'll bite, how do they know they came from Earth rather than, say were asteroids? A lot of asteroids look like they broke away from something as they're irregular in shape, perhaps there's other likely origins. But this has gone from 'could have' to did without convincing me. After all, we see supposed martian rock on earth. Who's really to say that those martian rocks broke from Mars, rather than are the stuff Mars is made up of and some of it landed on Earth, or some other theory.
Ummm.. It's a simulation. They didn't actually discover the rocks. They didn't see any evidence. They just did the math. All they said is that they know that this stuff got shot into space and they figured out that it can reach Titan.

Simulation == thought experiment (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945851)

Ummm.. It's a simulation. They didn't actually discover the rocks. They didn't see any evidence. They just did the math. All they said is that they know that this stuff got shot into space and they figured out that it can reach Titan.


I don't want to sound like a tinhat type here; I'm sure their findings are close if not correct. In the interests of truth though, we should mention that they could be wrong in their maths. Simulations aren't much more than computer-assisted thought experiments, after all.

Re:Simulation == thought experiment (1)

x2A (858210) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945999)

They're only saying that it's mathmatically possible that fragments ejected from the earth could reach these destinations.

In the interests of truth though, we should mention that they could be wrong in their maths.

Implying that it is not mathmatically possible?

Maybe it's a Water Bear (1)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945629)

From BoingBoing: [boingboing.net]
Now here's the thing I really like about tartigrades. They are apparently the World's Toughest Animal. You can shoot them into space, take them to the deepest ocean depths and let them go, deprive them of air, water, and food for years and they don't care. Send them into the core of nuclear reactor. They'll be fine.

Re:That Would Be A Very Tough Bug (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945646)

About 100 have reached Jupiter's moon Europa - but they landed at 24 miles/sec.

This bit seems wrong. The escape velocity of jupiter from the surface of Europa is not 24 miles per second. Not even close. IIRC the escape velocity from the surface of Jupiter is less then 60 km/s. Rocks should be able to arrive on elliptical orbits with zero relative velocity at Jupiter.

Even so, without an atmosphere to slow them dowm, rocks will make quite a bang at Europa. Much less on Titan.

Re:That Would Be A Very Tough Bug (1)

dthx1138 (833363) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946118)

1. Just because the escape velocity at Europe might be less than 24 km/s doesn't mean that's your orbital velocity at that altitude above Jupiter; such would only be the case if the object's initial velocity (w/ respect to Jupiter) was 0 at the edge of Jupiter's sphere of influence.


2. It's possible their simulation was for a retrograde impact on Europa, which would enable a much higher impact velocity (Europa's mean orbital speed is over 13 km/s).

They are not still relative to Jupiter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14946159)

The rocks will be arriving on elliptical orbits with considerable velocity relative to Jupiter. Their motion around the Sun is much, much less than Jupiter's, which is why Jupiter has enough centripetal acceleration to stay in orbit at that distance, while the rocks are going to turn around and drop back through Earth's orbit.

Re:That Would Be A Very Tough Bug (4, Funny)

iamlucky13 (795185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945685)

Ok, I'll bite, how do they know they came from Earth rather than, say were asteroids?
Because they said they came from earth when they created the computer model the article is talking about. One of the nice things about computer models is it's relatively easy to control external effects, like asteroids.

Solar Billiards - v1.3.11
Please input the following earth-impactor parameters for your simulation

Impactor diameter (m): 5000
Impactor velocity (m/s): 12000
Ecliptic Declination (deg): 7.3

Please input the following solar system parameters for your simulation

Target diameter (km): 4000
Target solar altitude (AU): 15
System asteroid density (objects/AU^3): 0

Click start to begin

Calculating Trajectories...Done

Results:
Total impacts of earth origin: 107
Impacts of non-earth origin: 0

Congratulations! Impact count greater than 100! Click here to redeem your free iPod!

Re:That Would Be A Very Tough Bug (4, Informative)

Decaff (42676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945687)

Tough bugs, sure, but traveling through space also means withstanding the full bore radation of Mr. Sun, with no atmosphere to protect you. I'm not sure I want to meet one of these in a dark alley.

You probably already have. There are bacteria that can survive and even grow exposed to levels of radioactivity found in some parts of nuclear reactors. It looks like some of these bacteria also live in the human stomach.

The thing is, harsh environments and to things like drying out can cause DNA damage, and the same incredible repair mechanisms that help some species to survive those allow them to survive intense radiation.

Incidentally, bacteria surviving to reach Titan is not that interesting - far more exciting is the possibility of them reaching another moon of Saturn - Enceladus, which probably has liquid water.

Re:That Would Be A Very Tough Bug (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946002)

They must have run the experiment when Enceladus was on the other side of saturn. :)

Re:That Would Be A Very Tough Bug (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945703)

Addressing two points. The reason Mars meteorites can be identified as such is because of the ratios of the elements found within them... they differ from the rest of the meteorites, AND match Mars. Every major rocky body in the solar system has such a unique "signature".

As for surviving hard radiation... we already know of microbes that did it for years when later Apollo crews found them from the exposed exteriors of equipment left behind by the earlier crews. One you stress a microbe into a "spore" state, it's really hard to kill them.

Re:That Would Be A Very Tough Bug (1)

Tedium Unleased (764661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945844)

They just should have and could have kept using "could have" in the rest of the sentences. This is representative of the poor level of journalism today. And since everyone is yelling at you for pointing out this misleading error, which indeed it is, it seems they can't even tell the difference anymore.

Re:That Would Be A Very Tough Bug (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946114)

Could the bugs not hide INSIDE the meteor? Who needs an atmosphere when you're surrounded by solid rock? And can't spores survive some pretty harsh conditions?

Life on earth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945544)

Is it possible life on earth could have started this way? An astroid destroys a planet in another solar system. Matter is ejected into space (with hearty bacteria buried inside). It just so happens to land on life sustaining primitive earth. Enter in Evolution fast foward to today.

Re:Life on earth? (2, Funny)

jtorkbob (885054) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945721)

Wow, what a novel idea! I think we've got an awesome new theory here.

Let's give it a name. How about panspermia [wikipedia.org] ?

Or, you could just RTFA.

Evolution at work- if the bacteria survive- trip (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945547)

Or rather more likely a COLONY of bacteria can have a few members survive the trip, then I'd say it's highly likely that they are mutating fast enough to adapt to local conditions. The bolders would have been radiating heat the entire way out, so temperature wouldn't bother them. They'd land softly enough. And from there on out, it's just survival of the fittest.

HG Wells was Wrong (1)

sarlos (903082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945549)

And all along, we were watching Mars as the source of attack...

Colonise! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945568)

Why not send a bacterium from one of Earth's more extreme climates to Europa or Titan to see if will survive?

Panspermia (1)

exi1ed0ne (647852) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945573)

Panspermia [panspermia.org] , but with Earth as the originator. Sounds like the old chicken and egg to me.

Re:Panspermia (1)

warrigal (780670) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945753)

Almost every body in the Solar System shows evidence of large impacts. So if Panspermia is fact then it's probably a case of cross fertilization. Life adapting wherever it eventually finds itself. That also implies that, like evolution, it's still going on!

Temperture in Europe (1)

pacroon (846604) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945578)

The way Scandinavia is freezing in at the moment, and this close to spring, Titan would be no problem for us! :(

Water Bears (4, Interesting)

7Ghent (115876) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945591)

Tartigrades, otherwise known as Water Bears [wikipedia.org] might survive such a journey. They're the cutest microscopic animals ever!

Re:Water Bears (2, Funny)

Abreu (173023) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945906)

Was I the only one imagining gigantic versions of it?
With radioactive fire coming out of their mouths?
Destroying Tokio and New York?

Anyone?

Hello?

Oh bugger...

Re:Water Bears (1)

Assassin bug (835070) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946180)

Maybe, but I never did find them for my invertebrate collection back in my undergrad days. What about nematode cysts? Or yeast, yeast is everywhere all the time!

The Bug Speaks. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945594)

'This must be rather frustrating if you're a bacterium that survived launch from Earth'

On behalf of the League of Sentient One-Celled Organisms, I would like to assure you that it is nowhere near as frustrating as your high-handed, primitive, and anthropomorphic notions of bacterium emotion.

Actually in many of our cultures (and I use that term advisedly), being hurtled through a vacuum and smashing into a rock is considered to be a transcendent spiritual experience, and required as an initiation rite into our shamanic traditions.

Blow that into your Kleenex.

Obvious (3, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945607)


At -179C, the bacteria are gonna need parkas.

Re:Obvious (-1, Flamebait)

linzeal (197905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945723)

Maybe they are Muslim orthodox women bacteria, and have burkas instead.

I'm scared (0, Offtopic)

ericdano (113424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945632)

So, since we have determined that these things DO HIT EARTH, how about we start PREVENTING this from happening.

Re:I'm scared (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945734)

Sure, who's liv tyler dating these days?

Re:I'm scared (3, Insightful)

Expert Determination (950523) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945830)

The fact that we have determined these things hit Earth makes them no more likely to hit Earth. I say we carry on ignoring them like we did before anyone had any clue such a thing could happen.

Re:I'm scared (0, Troll)

Zentac (804805) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946015)

Preamtive Strike, just wait untill the US government hears about this one, you'll have marines walking around on Titan in no time...

Re:I'm scared (1)

x2A (858210) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946033)

Actually we're relying on them hitting earth to colonise the outer moons... we're gonna get a bunch of scientists armed with solar powered drills to sit in touch capsules, wait until an asteroid hits close by, sending them hurtling into space. Some of them will reach jupiters moon's, and if they survive the 24mile/sec landing without too much of a headache, they can start building civilization.

We're just playing the waiting game!

--
plug: LCD TV's / Monitors (UK) [crispywater.com]

Re:I'm scared (not) (0, Offtopic)

rapidweather (567364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946099)

Anyone remember an asteroid story where we did not know about the thing until after it passed Earth, and was going away?
So, if one is going to hit, we probably, and should not, know in advance.


Something much smaller, but terrifying nonetheless, was Katrina. I remember seeing grandmothers, children fleeing up the highway the next day, knowing from the looks of them that they would not last another mile without dropping in their tracks. Their transportation that got them here ran out of gas, apparently, and they got out and started walking. Power was out, all I had working was my scanner, hooked to a car battery. Several men had been swept off their roofs during the storm, trying to fix roofs damaged by falling trees. Broken backs. Much worse further south toward the Coast. The only bright side: Good thing we had bicycles, no gasoline anymore.


Knowing in advance would not be good, from what I have seen, if we are to be hit with a giant asteroid.
If another Katrina comes around, we are going to have a lot of problems based on what Forbes.com discusses here:


  Victims who are rescued from the horrors of the flood-ravaged city of New Orleans may have frequent and intense psychological problems similar to those that plague troops returning from Iraq, Afghanistan or Vietnam--problems that could spread to the rescuers as well. Up to a third of the victims of the Gulf Coast catastrophe might be affected


(Sorry I did not link to the story, they had an advertisement page ahead of it.)

     

Offtopic (0, Offtopic)

mctk (840035) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946169)

Knowing in advance would not be good, from what I have seen, if we are to be hit with a giant asteroid.

I'm wondering how your story led you to this conclusion.

I'd Give em two weeks (1)

TK2K (834353) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945639)

A while ago on slashdot, someone posted an artical about how fungi could survive in hard vacume and solar radiation on the side of the ISS for.... two weeks. Now, lets give the little buggers credit and say maybe a month and a half in space... and how long did it take our probes to reach jupiter?

yep, thats about it

Re:I'd Give em two weeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945827)

Well it is possible to travel to Jupiter in a day. Now I am not somesort of Warp-Drive nut. The reason it takes our probes years to get out there is that we are using Hohmann transfer orbits, but if you were to take an extreme hyperbolic orbit close to the sun you could get to Jupiter really quickly. But your probably right that if the bacteria got to Jupiter in two weeks (without getting boiled by the sun) It would take years for Jupiter's gravity to pull the rock out of its hyperbolic eescape orbit it an orbit that would collide with Europa.

Was Europa Always Airless? (2, Interesting)

Ranger (1783) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945656)

It looks like Earth's pecker tracks could be all over the solar system. What if Europa had an atmosphere early in it's life? Was it always relatively airless? So even if we discover life elsewhere in the solar system, there's a good chance it'll resemble Earth's. Even if Europa was airless what about this scenario? Big Earth rock hits Europa, vaporizes millions of tons of ice and creates a temporary atmosphere. Then a second rock hits Europa in this brief interlude. It could have survived. Unlikely, but possible.

Re:Was Europa Always Airless? (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945777)

What if Europa had an atmosphere early in it's life?

Sounds reasonable to me. Earth life at the time may have been better suited to Jovian environments than it is now.

Re:Was Europa Always Airless? (2, Interesting)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946035)

What if Europa had an atmosphere early in it's life? Was it always relatively airless?

It's very unlikely that Europa ever had more than a trace-atmosphere at any time. You need a certain amount of mass to generate enough gravity to hold one, although the colder it is, the less you need. I don't have the physics to calulate if Europa's mass is enough, but if it ever did have one, it probably still would.

Re:Was Europa Always Airless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14946177)

Too bad we can't attempt a landing there to find out.

Space First? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945665)

Wouldn't they have to survive Space before worrying about another planet???????

One obvious implication (1)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945678)

Mars probably had live at some point, either transmitted to Earth via ejecta or received from Earth via ejecta. In fact, it might have gone back and forth over the last few billion years.

Re:One obvious implication (2, Funny)

ObjetDart (700355) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945720)

In fact, it might have gone back and forth over the last few billion years.

Yikes, that's one helluva commute.

Maybe that explains why so many modern day humans don't seem to mind driving 2 hours each way to work every day. It's in our genes!

Crash differs from explosion to escape velocity? (1)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945730)

... but they landed at 24 miles/sec. 'This must be rather frustrating if you're a bacterium that survived launch from Earth ...

And the decelleration and temperature resulting from the crash landing is substantially different from the acceleration and temperature resulting from an explosion that caused the rock to exceed escape velocity in the first place?

Re:Crash differs from explosion to escape velocity (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945767)

And the decelleration and temperature resulting from the crash landing is substantially different from the acceleration and temperature resulting from an explosion that caused the rock to exceed escape velocity in the first place?

If you start with a big rock under the surface close to an impact point on Earth, most of the rock will be damaged while being ejected into space but a few small bits in the centre may survive intact. But these bits won't be able to survive an impact on Europa.

Re:Crash differs from explosion to escape velocity (1)

idonthack (883680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945785)

Yes. It has probably been slowed by gravity from various objects, and if they're lucky, they might be moving at a small relative velocity to thier impact site due to orbit directions and such.

Re:Crash differs from explosion to escape velocity (4, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945998)

And the decelleration and temperature resulting from the crash landing is substantially different from the acceleration and temperature resulting from an explosion that caused the rock to exceed escape velocity in the first place?

Yep.

Not "the explosion" itself, but the environment felt by the launched rock, which could be lifted relatively gently by the rocks and soil under it, as the atmosphere above it is lifted out of the way / along with it by it and the neighboring material.

It isn't the stuff that gets HIT by the asteroid/comet/whatever that get's launched. It's the stuff on and near the top of the ground nearby that gets lifted by the violence spreading out below it.

K'Breel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945739)

In other news, it is found that on this moon, a loser named MasterTripMonk writes lame ass stories about an Earthling named K'Breel. MasterTripMonk even wrote a lame article about himself for Wikipedia, but it was later deleted as a vanity piece.

Well... (3, Funny)

AWhiteFlame (928642) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945794)

Well, as long as they had an intel processor with them, they've got plenty of heat to survive.

Re:But they would need an AMD.. (1)

craznar (710808) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946064)

If they wanted to turn Saturn into a sun.

Could be problematic if we ever got there (2, Interesting)

GroeFaZ (850443) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945796)

I mean, if we ever got there and searched for native life forms, these findings would just add another factor of uncertainty. Say we send up robots or even taikonauts (probably won't be astronauts any way), and they really do find DNA/RNA-based life (except lawyers, as someone else suggested). How would one tell a archaebacterium which hitch-hiked the vessel from an archaebacterium that hitch-hiked an asteroid boulder from a bacterium that has been created there?

Re:Could be problematic if we ever got there (4, Informative)

tehdaemon (753808) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946092)

Ribosomes [wikipedia.org] . If they are the same, or similar to one of the few types in earth-life, then it is almost impossible that they came from elsewhere. If they are different....

Wow... (1)

GmAz (916505) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945858)

Man, what a load of what-ifs.

C.A.F. (1)

x2A (858210) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946074)

It doesn't seem hugely different from me posting a story about how waterfalls can power 90% of a large city, occording to my last game of SimCity :-/

It's Computer Assisted Fantasy

--
plug: Digital camera's/camcorders (UK) [crispywater.com]

Re:Wow... (1)

Teetow (603838) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946175)

That pretty much sums up our existence.

Metric system one spoon at a time (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945929)

Ok this time we compromised! We converted the 40 km/s of the article into 24 miles/sec, but kept the -179C unconverted.

For our next science article we will do the opposite. When we think you are ready -- but only then -- we won't convert anything and you'll be on your own.

One point I haven't seen mentioned. (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945932)

The rocks being ejected from our atmosphere are going to be heated red-hot or more on the way out. How likely is it that bacteria that can survive that can also survive the cold on Titan? It seems like it's asking a bit much for them to be resistant to both red-hot heat and freezing cold. Does anybody know how likely that is?

Re:One point I haven't seen mentioned. (1)

user24 (854467) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946062)

bacteria evolve much faster than (any?) other lifeform(s?).

by the time they get from hot to cold, the ones who survived the heat would be long turned into bacteria myth, then bacteria religion, then that bacteria civilisation would die and new bacteria-heros be born under a new regime, and so on and on and on, until even the bacteria who forgot the old stories about extreme heat had themselves been forgotten.

Neat idea...wish it were more probable. (4, Interesting)

posterlogo (943853) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945960)

I hadn't heard before this article about hard evidence that Earth debris could reach other planetary bodies or moons -- it's a really fascinating idea. I would first want to know, however, how many impacts correspond to relatively recent timeframes, and how many were predicted to have occured prior to life evolving on Earth. Also, one would think there would be evidence on our own moon of Earth-based debris (post-formation of the Moon of course, since that is thought to be one large chunk of Earth debris).

As far as life as we know it, there is no evidence that microorganisms could grow at -179C. There is some evidence that hardy spores can survive in extreme conditions (even naked space as is the case for some mold spores that briefly enter the upper atmosphere of Earth and come back down to spread long distance), but I find it difficult to believe that anything could grow and divide at such low temperatures. That seems chemically and thermodynamically impossible with the microorganisms that we know of now. The leaves the possibility of evolution to some type of life we don't know about, but again, evolution requires geological time scales, and the trip from here to Titan, presumably in a dormant state, would not allow sufficient time or for that or the multiple rounds of natural selection. Neat idea none-the-less, but not enough incidents to play the probability game properly.

Bravo! (1)

robogymnast (755411) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945971)

This has to be one of the most interesting articles I have read on slashdot in a long time. Kudos!

Purpul Sulphur Bacteria (4, Interesting)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945986)

>chemistry is very different from Earth's.

There are some Earth life forms with some pretty weird chemistry. One example is purple sulphur bacteria. Instead of using water as a reducing agent, they use hydrogen sulfide. This is oxidized to elemental sulphur and sometimes on to sulphuric acid. Heck with this water/oxygen thing. These are a very old group of organisms.

You are correct (2)

jd (1658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946172)

There's all kinds of weird bacteria on Earth, including extremophiles that consider boiling water to be a little on the chilly side. Cold-water corals can survive quite nicely in the North Sea and I've heard of them off the coast of Alaska. Although not a bacteria, the "ice worm" discovered in Washington State can only live in below-freezing conditions. They explode at higher temperatures, apparently.


Combine all this with being able to digest unconventional materials - your example was sulpher - and you've the makings of a beastie that would consider Titan the ultimate in luxury resorts.

Dinosaurs in Space (2, Funny)

truckaxle (883149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945995)

Could there possible be bits of dinosaur DNA orbiting around in the deep freeze of the solar system? or would high energy particles quickly destroy the DNA? Well if anything sounds a like a great mechanism for a movie. Man finds chunks of frozen desiccated dinosaur. Man brings back Dino DNA to earth and splices DNA with that of frogs, Man recreates Dinosaur species, Dinosaur eats Man. Appologies to Ian Malcolm...

Re:Dinosaurs in Space (2, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946082)

I could imagine something like a geode crystal managing to stay warm and moist in outer space, hell we could discover at the very heart of Halley is an entire ecosystem which comes alive once every 76 years like flowers in the desert.

We just never get close enough to see it bloom.

Levy 8 - shoemaker impact (1)

mec_cool (757885) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945997)

try to picture the reality of the simulation. you're in the backyard, sipping on a soda, then : http://www.isc.tamu.edu/~astro/sl9/sl9images.html [tamu.edu] it happened on jupiter in 1994 !

Poorly summarized or poorly understood (4, Informative)

HorsePunchKid (306850) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946008)

About 100 have reached Jupiter's moon Europa...
Of course, that's 100 simulated Earth rocks reaching a simulated Jupiter's simulated moon Europa. Usually I'd rag on the New Scientist for yet more crappy, sensationalist reporting, but this was clearly the submitter's fault.

Prepping excuses for finding life (0, Troll)

What is a number (652374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946059)

Maybe this will just help prep religious fundamentalists to have a way to accept life on other planets without losing their belief that life started on earth (6000 years ago, of course...)

---
I type this every time.

One thing - (3, Insightful)

Kittie Rose (960365) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946093)

People are also only pointing out animals we know exist being on those boulders. It's entirely possible there were many more species hundreds of millions of years ago that were as resiliant as the "Water Bear" towards harsh conditions, but suffered some other short coming that lead to their extinction on Earth.

If material from Earth seeded other bodies (1)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 8 years ago | (#14946154)

Then it's entirely plausible that life on Earth came from places other than earth.

Of course this plays right into the hands of the fundamentalists. In their view we were put here by their God. But I'm not one of His people - I'm one of the others mentioned in the good book. But I'm talking extraterrestrial here, not metaphysical.

fi8st Post (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14946179)

perform kkepi8g sanctions, and

What are the odds of the bacteria surviving? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14946196)

Now I know that everyone and his dog likes to point out how hardy bacteria are. They turn into spores and can survive insane periods of time, etc. However the article said that 100 rocks arrive at Titan in a million years.

A million years.

That's long enough for some really slow chemical processes to become significant. Like the ones that cause replacement of organic tissue with minerals - aka fossilization.

OK, if they arrive at that rate, the first one is likely to arrive in 5-15,000 years or so. Go bugs! You have a chance!

But these aren't rocks that just flew straight to Jupiter and landed on Titan. They are ones that went into an elliptical orbit that touches Jupiter's orbit and stayed there for a while. So those rocks are going to be going out to Jupiter (nice and cold) then coming in close to the Sun. How close? Venus? Mercury? I don't know (though I could probably work it out). But regardless, it is going to be a lot closer than Earth. Which means that it will be pretty toasty. Think autoclave.

Oh, let's add hard radiation. Solar storms produce enough radiation that it was a real concern that the Apollo astronauts might encounter one. And here we are, experiencing half of every solar storm for thousands of years. (Depends which way the rock was facing whether a bug gets hit or protected.) That's going to add up.

I'd put pretty dim odds on the bacteria surviving to land on Titan.
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