Episode 139: Can Alien Life Hitch a Ride on Space Dust?, with Arjun Berera

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Feature Guest: Arjun Berera

Many of you are familiar with the idea of panspermia, the theory that life spreads itself throughout the galaxy by travelling from one world to another. We often think of big objects like asteroids, comets or spacecraft. But a new idea has emerged, and it’s must smaller: dust. Astronomer Arjun Berera joins me here at The Star Spot to discuss his new study, which considers whether alien life can hitchhike between planets on streams of space dust and if life on Earth might have just such an origin.


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Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

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About Our Guest

Arjun Berera is Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh. He received his PhD from the University of California Berkeley studying aspects of string perturbation theory. His research interests include quantum field theory, statistical physics, early universe cosmology theory and turbulence.


Read the Study: Space dust collisions as a planetary escape mechanism

Life on Earth arrived on super-fast clouds of cosmic dust, study suggests (the Telegraph)

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2 comments on “Episode 139: Can Alien Life Hitch a Ride on Space Dust?, with Arjun Berera

  1. Great show!
    Very interesting guests who are intelligently interviewed. Could you make it weekly rather than bi-weekly? I want more.

    I just happened to stumble upon a speech by Fred Hoyle about panspermia, even in dust particles (and interstellar comets, suddenly again now headline ideas). In 1982. Not with the sophisticated kinetic calculations of professor Berera, this was 36 years ago when even computers and their software were suspicious at best.

    Fred Hoyle was wrong about alot, One isn’t a great astronomer otherwise.

    • Thank you for the comment LocalFluff. We would love to post episodes more frequently, but this is an entirely volunteer operation and we will probably be focusing first on increasing the listenership of the program. I hope you will take the opportunity to listen to some of our earlier episodes and let us know what you think. Justin

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