Research explains how life could spread between galaxies 'like a virus'

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Research Explains How Life Could Spread Between Galaxies 'Like a Virus'

Scientists are looking at whether it's possible for life to spread between galaxies. Feels a little like jumping the gun considering so far all we know is that life can jump from the earth to the moon.

Researchers from Harvard have been looking into the panspermia theory. It says that the seeds of life exist all over the universe and can be propagated through space from one location to another. Sort of like seeds. It's how some people believe the tools for life began here, right at home.

Still others wonder Earth could be doing the seeding. The scientists think that panspermia is possible and say that if it's eventually proven that life would spread out in a characteristic way. Like a virus. Meaning that if a planet had life on it, places near it would also get infected. Basically life would create these pockets or oases of life that we theoretically would be able to detect.

Stunning images from space:
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Research explains how life could spread between galaxies 'like a virus'
Swirling dust clouds and bright newborn stars dominate the view in this image of the Lagoon nebula from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Also known as Messier 8 and NGC 6523, astronomers estimate it to be between 4000 and 6000 light years away, lying in the general direction of the center of our galaxy in the constellation Sagittarius. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
The star-forming region, 30 Doradus, is one of the largest located close to the Milky Way and is found in the neighboring galaxy Large Magellanic Cloud. Spitzer. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

 NGC 2207 and IC 2163, which are located about 130 million light-years from Earth, in the constellation of Canis Major.

(photo credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/STScI/JPL-Caltech ) 

The scattered remains of an exploded star named Cassiopeia A. Much of the star's original layering had been preserved. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
A star's spectacular death in the constellation Taurus was observed on Earth as the supernova of 1054 A.D. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

Volunteers using the web-based Milky Way Project brought star-forming features nicknamed "yellowballs" to the attention of researchers, who later showed that they are a phase of massive star formation. The yellow balls -- which are several hundred to thousands times the size of our solar system -- are pictured here in the center of this image of the W33 star forming region taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Infrared light has been assigned different colors; yellow occurs where green and red overlap. The yellow balls represent an intermediary stage of massive star formation that takes place before massive stars carve out cavities in the surrounding gas and dust.

(photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1754: Centre of the Milky Way galaxy viewed by the Spitzer Space Telescope. Infrared image of the galactic centre and dusty clouds, lit up by young massive stars. Credit NASA. Science Astronomy Space (Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images)

Within the swaddling dust of the Serpens Cloud Core, astronomers are studying one of the youngest collections of stars ever seen in our galaxy. This infrared image combines data from NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope with shorter-wavelength observations from the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS), letting us peer into the clouds of dust wrapped around this stellar nursery.
(photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/2MASS)

UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1754: Spitzer Space Telescope false-colour image of 'South Pillar' region of tsar-forming region called the Carina Nebula. Star embryos (yellow or white) inside finger-like pillars of thick dust (pink). Hot gases are green. Credit NASA (Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images)
the Andromeda galaxy in a composite image from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer and the Spitzer Space Telescope. Spitzer's super-sensitive infrared eyes show Andromeda's relatively 'cool' side,. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG/Getty Images)

The brain-like orb called PMR 1 has been nicknamed the "Exposed Cranium" nebula by Spitzer scientists. This planetary nebula, located roughly 5,000 light-years away in the Vela constellation, is host to a hot, massive dying star that is rapidly disintegrating, losing its mass. The nebula's insides, which appear mushy and red in this view, are made up primarily of ionized gas, while the outer green shell is cooler, consisting of glowing hydrogen molecules.

(photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/J.Hora)

Newborn stars peek out from beneath their natal blanket of dust in this dynamic image of the Rho Ophiuchi dark cloud from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. It is one of the closest star-forming regions to our own solar system. Located near the constellations Scorpius and Ophiuchus, the nebula is about 407 light years away from Earth. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

A new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, taken in infrared light, shows where the action is taking place in galaxy NGC 1291. The outer ring, colored red in this view, is filled with new stars that are igniting and heating up dust that glows with infrared light. The stars in the central area produce shorter-wavelength infrared light than that seen in the ring, and are colored blue. This central area is where older stars live, having long ago gobbled up the available gas supply, or fuel, for making new stars.

(photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

SPACE, SPACE: This image released 07 October, 2004 by NASA shows Kepler's supernova remnant produced by combining data from NASA's three Great Observatories -- the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Kepler's supernova was first seen 400 years ago by sky watchers, including famous astronomer Johannes Kepler. The combined image unveils a bubble-shaped shroud of gas and dust that is 14 light-years wide and is expanding at 4 million miles per hour (2,000 kilometers per second). AFP PHOTO/NASA (Photo credit should read HO/AFP/Getty Images)

Millions of galaxies populate the patch of sky known as the COSMOS field, short for Cosmic Evolution Survey, a portion of which is shown here. Even the smallest dots in this image are galaxies, some up to 12 billion light-years away. The square region in the center of bright objects is where the telescope was blinded by bright light. However, even these brightest objects in the field are more than ten thousand times fainter than what you can see with the naked eye.

(photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This composite of 30 Doradus, aka the Tarantula Nebula, contains data from Chandra, Hubble, and Spitzer. Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, the Tarantula Nebula is one of the largest star-forming regions close to the Milky Way. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
Named RCW 120, this region of hot gas and glowing dust can be found in the murky clouds encircled by the tail of the constellation Scorpius. Spitzer. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

The ghostly structures highlighting the peculiar patterns of orbiting stars in the center of the galaxy NGC 1291 stand out vividly in this specially-processed image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. By making detailed observations of the galaxy in infrared light, astronomers can tease out the hidden details of the strange dynamics in this barred galaxy.

(photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The destructive results of a mighty supernova explosion reveal themselves in a delicate blend of infrared and X-ray light, as seen in this image from NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope and Chandra X-Ray Observatory, and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton.

(photo credit: NASA/ESA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC/IAFE)

A galaxy about 23 million light-years away is the site of impressive, ongoing, fireworks. Rather than paper, powder, and fire, this galactic light show involves a giant black hole, shock waves, and vast reservoirs of gas.

(photo credit: NASA/CXC/JPL-Caltech/STScl/NSF)

This image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows what lies near the sword of the constellation Orion -- an active stellar nursery containing thousands of young stars and developing protostars. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
The galaxy IC 342 presents its delicate pattern of dust in this image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
This new view of the North America nebula combines both visible and infrared light observations, taken by the Digitized Sky Survey and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, respectively, into a single vivid picture. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

This image is a tiny snippet of the vast 20 gigapixel GLIMPSE360 panorama released in March 2014. Visitors were encouraged to use the web viewers on the Spitzer site to search through the data and then share and name their findings on Twitter. This region was tweeted by @kevinmgill, who tagged it "Nebula Does Not Approve."

(photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Roguish runaway stars can have a big impact on their surroundings as they plunge through the Milky Way galaxy. Their high-speed encounters shock the galaxy, creating arcs, as seen in this newly released image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.

(photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope exposes the depths of this dusty nebula, known as Messier 78. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
This painterly portrait of a star-forming cloud, called NGC 346, is a combination of multiwavelength light from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope (infrared), the European Southern Observatory's New Technology Telescope (visible), and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton space telescope (X-ray). (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

The collection of red dots seen near the center of this image show one of several very distant galaxy clusters discovered by combining ground-based optical data from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory's Kitt Peak National Observatory with infrared data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. This galaxy cluster, named ISCS J1434.7+3519, is located about 9 billion light-years from Earth.

(Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The Cassiopeia A supernova's first flash of radiation makes six clumps of dust (circled in annotated version) unusually hot. The supernova remnant is the large white ball in the center. This infrared picture was taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
This image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows a wispy, vast structure in the constellation Perseus with a small bubble right in its center puffed out by the spasms of fresh-formed, heavyweight stars (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
The various spiral arm segments of the Sunflower galaxy, also known as Messier 63, show up vividly in this image taken in infrared light by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

Combined observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the newly completed Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile have revealed the throes of stellar birth, as never before, in the well-studied object known as HH 46/47.

(photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ALMA)

This planetary nebula, known as NGC 650 or the Little Dumbbell, is about 2,500 light-years from Earth in the Perseus constellation. Unlike the other spherical nebulas, it has a bipolar or butterfly shape due to a "waist," or disk, of thick material, running from lower left to upper right. Fast winds blow material away from the star, above and below this dusty disk. The ghoulish green and red clouds are from glowing hydrogen molecules, with the green area being hotter than the red.

(photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/J.Hora)

What might look like a colossal jet shooting away from a galaxy turns out to be an illusion. New data from the National Science Foundation's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), combined with an infrared view from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, reveals two galaxies, one lying behind the other, that had been masquerading as one.

(photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/NRAO)

The famous Horsehead nebula seen in visible-light images (inset) looks quite different when viewed in infrared light, as seen in this newly released image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

(photo credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/STScI/JPL-Caltech ) 

The giant star Zeta Ophiuchi is having a "shocking" effect on the surrounding dust clouds in this infrared image from NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope. Stellar winds flowing out from this fast-moving star are making ripples in the dust as it approaches, creating a bow shock seen as glowing gossamer threads, which, for this star, are only seen in infrared light.

(photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The spiral galaxy NGC 3627 is located about 30 million light years from Earth. This composite image includes X-ray data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue), infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope (red), and optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Very Large Telescope (yellow). The inset shows the central region, which contains a bright X-ray source that is likely powered by material falling onto a supermassive black hole.

(photo credit: NASA/CXC/Ohio State Univ)

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