February 14, 2005

Panspermia ....

What is panspermia ? It is a theory ( and process ?) which states that the transition from inanimate organic material to animate organisms is NOT something that happens in every planet or global society.

Instead, it has happened ONCE somewhere and subsequently life forms are carried between galactic and intergalactic space either randomly or through the co-ordinated activity of sentient and intelligent agents.

I had heard about this somewhere but it was brought home through a very powerful book that I read over the weekend. "Titan" by Stephen Baxter is a very powerful novel that talks about how human travel to Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, and then from there even further.

What makes the book immediately current is the the fact that the Cassini-Huygens probe has just deposited the Huygens part of the spacecraft on Titan's methane and nitrogen environment this year itself ... and this forms a very integral part of the story.

Wonderful ( though rather melancholic ) book on the follies of the human race but an excellent technical introduction to panspermia.

Read it, if you can.

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