Comet-like objects crossing the Milky Way could carry bacteria across thousands of light years and spread life around the galaxy, scientists believe.
Experts say the discovery last year of the asteroid ‘Oumuamua – the first interstellar object ever seen in the solar system – has raised hopes of discovering life that has been transported across space.
In a new study researchers said the entire Milky Way could be exchanging life ‘across vast distances’ and that microbes might be able to withstand the long journeys.
The paper’s authors said bacteria could potentially survive for millions of years and even some more complex organisms had managed to stay alive in the vacuum of space.
Our solar system might expect to capture one ‘Oumuamua-like object every 100 years, scientists said, according to Science Mag.
The asteroid ‘Oumuamua flew past Earth at 97,200mph last year and has shone new light on the interstellar objects zipping across the galaxy.
Many more of them would pass through the solar system but not all of them are likely to be captured by its gravitational fields, the scientists said.
The latest paper, published at Harvard University, is titled Galactic Panspermia – a reference to the idea that life is spread across the universe by comets and asteroids.