Enhanced interplanetary panspermia in the TRAPPIST-1 system [Astronomy]
We present a simple model for estimating the probability of interplanetary panspermia in the recently discovered system of seven planets orbiting the ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 and find that panspermia is potentially orders of magnitude more likely to occur in the TRAPPIST-1 system compared with the Earth-to-Mars case. As a consequence, we argue that the probability of abiogenesis is enhanced on the TRAPPIST-1 planets compared with the solar system. By adopting models from theoretical ecology, we show that the number of species transferred and the number of life-bearing planets are also likely to be higher because of the increased rates of immigration. We propose observational metrics for evaluating whether life was initiated by panspermia on multiple planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system. These results are also applicable to habitable exoplanets and exomoons in other planetary systems.
Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.
Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.