, Volume 341, Issue 2, pp 295-299
Date: 08 May 2012

Life-bearing primordial planets in the solar vicinity

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The space density of life-bearing primordial planets in the solar vicinity may amount to ∼8.1×104 pc−3 giving total of ∼1014 throughout the entire galactic disk. Initially dominated by H2 these planets are stripped of their hydrogen mantles when the ambient radiation temperature exceeds 3 K as they fall from the galactic halo to the mid-plane of the galaxy. The zodiacal cloud in our solar system encounters a primordial planet once every 26 My (on our estimate) thus intercepting an average mass of 103 tonnes of interplanetary dust on each occasion. If the dust included microbial material that originated on Earth and was scattered via impacts or cometary sublimation into the zodiacal cloud, this process offers a way by which evolved genes from Earth life could become dispersed through the galaxy.