Exchange of meteorites (and life?) between stellar systems.

  title={Exchange of meteorites (and life?) between stellar systems.},
  author={H. Jay Melosh},
  volume={3 1},
  • H. Melosh
  • Published 2003
  • Physics, Geology
  • Astrobiology
It is now generally accepted that meteorite-size fragments of rock can be ejected from planetary bodies. Numerical studies of the orbital evolution of such planetary ejecta are consistent with the observed cosmic ray exposure times and infall rates of these meteorites. All of these numerical studies agree that a substantial fraction (up to one-third) of the ejecta from any planet in our Solar System is eventually thrown out of the Solar System during encounters with the giant planets Jupiter… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

Transfer of Life-Bearing Meteorites from Earth to Other Planets

The probability is investigated that the meteorites originating on Earth are transferred to other planets in our Solar System and to extra solar planets. We take the collisional Chicxulub crater


Inspired by the close-proximity pair of planets in the Kepler-36 system, we consider two effects that may have important ramifications for the development of life in similar systems where a pair of

Seeding life on the moons of the outer planets via lithopanspermia.

It is expected that material from Earth and Mars to the moons of Jupiter and Saturn is most likely to occur during the Late Heavy Bombardment or during the ensuing 1-2 billion years, and there are significant rates of re-impact in the first million years after ejection.

Transfer of Rocks Between Planetary Systems: Panspermia Revisited.

Motivated by the recent discovery of interstellar objects passing through the solar system, and by recent developments in dynamical simulations, this article reconsiders the likelihood for

Seeding the Solar System with Life: Mars, Venus, Earth, Moon, Protoplanets

Abstract In the space of the entire universe, the only conclusive evidence of life, is found on Earth. Although the ultimate source of all life is unknown, many investigators believe Earth, Mars, and

A mechanism for interstellar panspermia

Metre-sized boulders ejected from the Earth by large impacts are destroyed through collisions and erosion by impacting zodiacal cloud dust particles. The time-scale for such disintegration in a dense

Lunar Palaeoregolith Deposits as Recorders of the Galactic Environment of the Solar System and Implications for Astrobiology

One of the principal scientific reasons for wanting to resume in situ exploration of the lunar surface is to gain access to the record it contains of early Solar System history. Part of this record


During the planet formation process, billions of comets are created and ejected into interstellar space. The detection and characterization of such interstellar comets (ICs) (also known as

Interstellar transfer of planetary microbiota

Panspermia theories require the transport of micro-organisms in a viable form from one astronomical location to another. The evidence of material ejection from planetary surfaces, of dynamical orbit

Planetary targets in the search for extrasolar oxygenic photosynthesis

Background: In the coming decades space telescopes will be constructed that will attempt to find the gaseous products of oxygenic photosynthesis, the most promising biosignatures of life, in the



The Exchange of Impact Ejecta Between Terrestrial Planets

Orbital histories of ejecta from the terrestrial planets were numerically integrated to study their transfer to Earth. The properties of the lunar and martian meteorites are consistent with a

Asteroids falling into the Sun

THE orbits of comets and near-Earth asteroids evolve chaotically, mainly in response to the gravitational influence of the planets. For comets, it is known that such perturbations can result in

Mars Meteorite Transfer: Simulation

An appraisal of the likelihood of survival of martian organisms in the rigors of space and their fiery entry through Earth's atmosphere and, if martian microorganisms can survive a year in space, many may have already arrived.

On the probability that a comet that has escaped from another solar system will collide with the Earth

Stars pass the Sun all the time, and many of these stars may have their own planetary systems and their own `Oort cloud' of comets. We consider a straightforward problem in which the planetary system

From the Kuiper Belt to Jupiter-Family Comets: The Spatial Distribution of Ecliptic Comets☆

Abstract We present numerical orbital integrations of thousands of massless particles as they evolve from Neptune-encountering orbits in the Kuiper belt for up to 1 Gyr or until they either impact a

SNC meteorites: Clues to Martian petrologic evolution?

The shergottites, nakhlites, and Chassigny (SNC meteorites) are apparently cumulate mafic and ultramafic rocks that crystallized at shallow levels in the crust of their parent body. The mineralogy

Ejection of rock fragments from planetary bodies

The recent discovery of ALHA81005, a small meteorite that undoubtedly came from the moon, has raised questions about how an intact rock fragment could survive acceleration to planetary escape

Dynamical Lifetimes and Final Fates of Small Bodies: Orbit Integrations vs Öpik Calculations

Abstract The dynamical lifetimes of small bodies against ejection from the Solar System or collision with the Sun or a planet are often estimated by Monte Carlo codes based on the equations of Opik

Martian Meteorite Launch: High-Speed Ejecta from Small Craters

It is found that craters as small as ∼3 kilometers can eject ∼107 decimeter-sized fragments from Mars, which is enough to expect those fragments to appear in the terrestrial collection, and it is estimated that the martian meteorites will be biased toward younger ages, consistent with the meteorite collection.

Destination: Earth. Martian Meteorite Delivery

Abstract The delivery dynamics of martian meteorites are examined by means of a direct numerical simulation of their orbital evolution. The dynamics in the martian region are dominated by secular