Aliens On Meteors? Study Proposes Wild Interstellar Hitchhiking Theory

hero alien riding comet
As the search for life outside of the confines of Earth continues, a group of astrobiologists has suggested checking meteors as an Uber for aliens. The new research explores a model of life spreading between planetary systems via panspermia and terraformation.

There are currently over 5,000 confirmed exoplanets from which NASA and other space agencies are constantly looking at for signs of life. However, life on another planet is difficult for several reasons, such as not knowing what exactly life may look like outside of Earth’s own. Panspermia is a term for a concept of life being capable of spreading from planet to planet, and a building block to a theory being suggested among some astrobiologists for how life may hitch a ride from one planet to another.

aliens driving car

The new model proposed in a research paper via the Cornell University website states life propagates across the galaxy, with correlations emerging between planetary characteristics and location, and can also function as a population-scale agnostic biosignature. The researchers suggest the biosignature is agnostic because it “is independent of strong assumptions about any particular instantiation of life or planetary characteristic, by focusing on a specific hypothesis of what life may do, rather than what life may be.”

Another aspect the research focuses on is how life that is transferred from one planet to another via a meteor could change the host planet’s environment. Researchers believe that while some alien life may thrive on a new planet, others would succumb to the new environment. Those that are able to survive could ultimately change the surrounding landscape from what it once was, serving as a starting point for a fresh round of panspermia.

The team realizes that their theory has limitations. One limitation is that panspermia is in itself just a theory and an untested hypothesis. Another is the technique only succeeds if scientists, astrobiologists, and others can collect enough data about a large number of exoplanets. Even with its limitations, the fact the research focuses on agnostic biosignatures allows for a broader potential signature of life without assumptions.

The research on the potential of aliens hailing an Uber with a meteor is available for viewing in full via the arXiv website.