Here's a crazy idea - what if an astronaut corpse started alien life? Not life on Earth, but life on another planet. Seems like a plot of a horror movie, right?
Turns out, it's a possibility.
The entire idea rests on the notion of the possibility that an astronaut may indeed die in space. For instance, this may happen during a mission - maybe because of an accident. Or maybe the alternative, a "burial" at space.
As in, dispatching a lonely corpse into the void that is space.
But scientists ponder upon the idea that what if an astronaut corpse started life on other planets?
The astronaut corpse may spend decades to millions of years just drifting along. However, it may eventually arrive at a star (or luckily a planet) a few thousand million years in the future.
Scientists predict two ways the astronaut corpse may start life on other planets. It can deliver living microbes. Or it may even be the catalyst that jumpstarts life in general.
The question is just how and what kinds of microbes can survive the harsh reality of space, and what sort of microbes are needed to make life.
According to Gary King from the Louisiana State University, we've already pulled out microbes from permafrost. Meaning, if we make a trip to Mars and hand a corpse to the planet, microbes can survive.
We just have to make sure that 1.) the container, 2.) the storage environment, and 3.) the flight time is good.
First, the astronaut corpse must be safely inside something like a spacecraft to survive. The corpse will be damaged upon landing, but some microbes may survive. This is better than the body being incinerated altogether.
Second, a corpse above freezing temperature is good, meaning the corpse won't decay as fast.
Lastly, the time must be real quick. Because staying in space for too long is a risk for radiation.
Well that seemed... pretty informative.