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Planets formed from the right conditions.
The theory of panspermia proposes that life really gets around, jumping fron planet to planet - or even from star to star. Life might be everywhere! Assuming this is true, how do single-celled bacteria make the journey through the vacuum of space? Easy, they use chunks of rock as space ships, in a process called lithopanspermia. And now, researchers from Princeton and the University of Michigan think that life carrying rocks might have been right there at the beginning of our solar system, keeping their tiny astronauts safe and sound, frozen in statis until the planets formed and the right conditions let them thaw out, stretch their proteins, and begin a process leading from microbe to mankind.
Astronomers aren't stuck looking at plain old light any more. There's a whole electromagnetic spectrum out there, ready to be explored, from 21cm Hydrogen radio-waves through microwave, infrared, ultraviolet, x-rays, to gamma rays and beyond, Astronomers have instruments for all seasons and all wavelengths. High-energy gamma rays are blocked by the Earth's atmosphere - which is good for our health - but Astronomers can still see them thanks to a process called Cherenkov radiation telescopy.
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