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Survival of seeds in hypervelocity impacts

Jerling, Aaron, Burchell, Mark J., Tepfer, David (2008) Survival of seeds in hypervelocity impacts. International Journal of Astrobiology, 7 (3-4). pp. 217-222. ISSN 1473-5504. (doi:10.1017/S1473550408004278) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1473550408004278

Abstract

Panspermia (‘seeds everywhere’) postulates that life naturally migrates through space. Laboratory studies of Panspermia often examine the survival of Earth's species under the conditions thought to occur during transfer through space. Much of this research has centred on bacteria, but here we consider seeds themselves. We simulated the extreme accelerations necessary for their hypothetical ejection from a planetary surface and the impacts associated with their arrival on another planet. Seeds of tobacco, alfalfa and cress were fired into water at speeds in the range 1–3 km s?1, corresponding to impact shock pressures of circa 0.24–2.4 GPa. No seeds remained intact and able to germinate, even at the lowest speeds. Although fragmentation occurred, even at 3 km s?1 the size of some of the fragments was about 25% that of the seeds. Thus, whilst the seeds themselves did not survive extreme shocks, a substantial fraction of their mass did and might successfully deliver complex organic materials after impact. These results are discussed with respect to ancient Panspermia and the potential of contemporary impacts to eject living organisms into space.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1017/S1473550408004278
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: Faculties > Sciences > School of Physical Sciences
Faculties > Sciences > School of Physical Sciences > Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences
Depositing User: Mark Burchell
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2013 12:51 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2019 10:36 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/37231 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Burchell, Mark J.: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2680-8943
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