Billions of years ago, he woke up under an alien star. His world, rich in water and teeming with life. A young man who spent his days traversing the tallest of mountains in search of adventure and fortune, the gorgeous landscapes enriching every fibre of his soul, unimaginable beauty. His life was a simple one, but one that made him happy. His nights were spent gazing out at the stars shining like jewels against the blackest of nights, but, one night, everything was to come to an end. A terrible rock from space collided with the world, sending matter and debris hurtling out into space and extinguishing every flicker of life on that alien world. As for the clumps of debris, gravity brought them together to form larger and larger asteroids, asteroids teeming with some of the life that had been on that alien planet. Microbial life, no less, that froze in space until one fateful day, a day when the rock they called home came crashing down to Earth. And with it, brought life to our barren world. Alien life, no less. Life that we descended from. So when you next look up at those stars, just imagine this: you could be looking at the very star that your cosmic ancestor lived under. Are we all aliens? It’s not that ridiculous a question, when you really think about it…
This is known amongst the nerd community as ‘panspermia,’ from the Greek words ‘pan’ and ‘sperma’, meaning ‘all’ and ‘seed’, and it differs greatly from that other great pan, Pan’s People. A reference for the kids, there. Ask your grandparents. This is the belief that humankind did not evolve on Earth, but was ‘brought’ here, whether by means of asteroid, meteoroid, planetoid, comet, accidental contamination from an alien craft crashing here, or even deliberately… by actual aliens in actual spacecrafts. Well, that would explain Trump. If you’re wondering what the difference is between an asteroid, meteoroid and a comet… oh, it doesn’t matter. Have you tried going outside? And if it’s raining, that’s no excuse. Go and jump in a puddle. It will bring you endless joy. ENDLESS!
It’s a fascinating theory. Little microscopic forms of life, dormant on space rocks and activated by the right conditions of a world they crashed in to, thus becoming the spark for evolution. Of course, it’s controversial. There are the believers, those who, correctly, point toward space dust and that some of it is organic, actual life floating throughout space. Who’s to say that wouldn’t collide with some world ten billion miles away and spark a new evolution? Heck, that little speck of dust could have come from a bloke named Dave who lives in Croydon and is now practically a god to some alien beings. Think about that! You could be the genesis for a new civilisation and you’d never even know it. An entire world moulded from a speck of skin between your butt cheeks. I’m not entirely sure this is how panspermia works, but it certainly worked for Pan’s People, so it’s good enough for me…
Some even think it’s still happening and could explain why life is so diverse on our little blue rock. It’s not impossible life travels through space like the seeds of a plant scattering across the forest floor. And think about this. When our world is vaporised by the Sun, your remains will be scattered throughout the universe and maybe, just maybe, a little organism takes a ride on your left femur. Imagine some future alien kid out running around with his friend, playing in the summer Sun. Imagine he trips over that femur. “What the heck is this!” he says as his picks up your bone. “Some far off ancestor, I bet. One who lived underground and eked out a simple living.” No son, that is actually Sally who worked in a branch of Greggs…
Is it all far-fetched nonsense? The conditions for intelligent life are incredibly rare, but equally, it’s unlikely Earth is the only one. By some counts, there are up to 40 billion planets the size of Earth in habitable zones around alien stars, in the Milky Way galaxy alone. For every study seemingly ‘disproving’ panspermia, there’s another seemingly ‘proving’ it. Some have even pointed to the fact that humankind is poorly equipped to deal with the planet we’re on. Ellis Silver once said, ‘We are harmed by the sunlight, [have] a strong dislike for naturally occurring (raw) foods, ridiculously high rates of chronic disease, and more. Plus there’s a prevailing feeling among many people that they don’t belong here or that something “just isn’t right”. This suggests (to me at least) that mankind may have evolved on a different planet.’
Extremophiles are microorganisms with the extraordinary capability to survive and thrive in the most harsh of environments, from the deepest of oceans, to toxic waste and even nuclear reactors. They even found living bacteria in an ice core sample retrieved from over 12,000 feet down in Antarctica. Life can survive in these conditions. Yes, it would take tens of millions of years to travel between worlds, but there are bacterial spores on Earth some 40 million years old that are resistant to radiation, and other spores that can ‘resume living’ after being dormant for 25 million years. Life often finds a way.
It’s ridiculous and improbable, but it’s somewhat romantic and lovely, isn’t it? The idea of worlds living on through renewal and new life. Of the entire universe being connected. Of the realisation that, if this theory is true, life is flourishing everywhere. We have found chunks of Mars on Earth and we know there are chunks of Earth on Mars. Just one microbe could be all it takes.
Are we all aliens? It’s impossible to know for sure, but it’s certainly a possibility, and it’s one that I, at least, find rather magical…
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