In a new study, astrophysicists at Harvard University claim that if some form of alien life does indeed have the ability to move from planet to planet — much like a virus — (a process called panspermia), it would spread in a predictable pattern that we could potentially detect it.
In our theory clusters of life form, grow, and overlap like bubbles in a pot of boiling water,
said Henry Lin ~ lead author of the study accepted for publication by the Astrophysical Journal.
There are two fascinating possibilities for life to potentially spread beyond its host star. The first, it would be through natural processes, a technique titled “gravitational slingshotting” of comets and asteroids; or through intelligent life that purposefully seeds other planets with life. The new model does not answer the question how panspermia happened but, instead, if it does happened, could we detect it? The answer is yes.
According to the new model developed by Harvard’ scientists, if a seed ‘arises’ somewhere in the universe, reaching a planet with just the right conditions for life to thrive then it would spreads in all directions over time.
Life could spread from host star to host star in a pattern similar to the outbreak of an epidemic. In a sense, the Milky Way galaxy would become infected with pockets of life,
said Avi Loeb ~ co-author of the study.
The idea is that if we detect any biosignatures of life on some alien worlds, then the next step is to find a pattern. For example, in an ideal case where the Earth is on the edge of a “bubble” of life, all the nearby life-hosting worlds we find will be in one half of the sky, while the other half will be barren.
Lin and Loeb suggests.
While these ideas are still an academic hypothesizing, the new model model already paint aa quite interesting picture of the possibilities. Though, we have to wait until a new generation of telescopes could be good enough to find life on other worlds, but even this won’t be enough, we’re gonna need some hard evidence. Lin himself acknowledges that:
Most of the papers like this are going to be wrong,