Space Science Reviews

, Volume 156, Issue 1, pp 239–252

Panspermia, Past and Present: Astrophysical and Biophysical Conditions for the Dissemination of Life in Space


DOI: 10.1007/s11214-010-9671-x

Cite this article as:
Wesson, P.S. Space Sci Rev (2010) 156: 239. doi:10.1007/s11214-010-9671-x


Astronomically, there are viable mechanisms for distributing organic material throughout the Milky Way. Biologically, the destructive effects of ultraviolet light and cosmic rays means that the majority of organisms arrive broken and dead on a new world. The likelihood of conventional forms of panspermia must therefore be considered low. However, the information content of damaged biological molecules might serve to seed new life (necropanspermia).


Radiation pressureCosmic raysMicro-organismsVirusesInformation

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Herzberg Institute of AstrophysicsVictoriaCanada