‘Life on Earth rode piggyback on rock from Mars’ theory put to test

November 14th, 2007 - 2:45 am ICT by admin  
As part of the test, astronomers have blasted into space a rock quarried from Orkney onboard the unmanned Foton M3 spacecraft.

Scientists from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland attached the rock to an unmanned Russian craft to see if life could survive in a large meteorite.

As friction and heat would burn to cinders all forms of primitive life in a small sized meteorite during its re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, Professor John Parnell and his team had the slab of Orcadian rock quarried from Cruaday, Sandwick, carved into the size of a bowler hat.

He said the Orcadian rock was selected because it was organic-rich and extremely hard.

He said a bigger meteorite would hit the ground with such force that it would completely vaporize. On the other hand, a rock measuring tens of centimetres with life inside its centre, would survive the friction, as well as the impact.

According to a BBC report, the hat was attached to the side of the European Space Agency’s Foton M3 mission, which launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Further details about the experiment will be revealed at the Highland Science Festival on November 3. The Highland Science Festival runs until 17 November at venues in Inverness-shire, Dingwall and Applecross. (ANI)

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