When the sun was a baby, some 4.5 billion years ago, it was nourished in the same stellar nursery as thousands of other baby stars. After a billion years, the cluster of young stars went their own ways, dispersing throughout interstellar space.
But, like any family, these stars have a lot in common. And like nursery mates here on Earth, they may have shared some germs and viruses during their formative years when they were in close proximity. But in this case, "cosmic chicken pox" may have formed the building blocks of life that eventually flourished on Earth. If there's life on Earth, might there be life on the planets that formed around our sun's siblings?
This might sound a little outlandish, but there is a hypothesis that may have acted as the stellar nursery "cosmic chicken pox transmission mechanism" for the building blocks of life.
Life's Transmission Mechanism
"The idea is if a planet has life, like Earth, and if you hit it with an asteroid, it will create debris, some of which will escape into space," astronomer Mauri Valtonen, of the University of Turku, told SPACE.com. "And if the debris is big enough, like 1 meter across, it can shield life inside from radiation, and that life can survive inside for millions of years until that debris lands somewhere. If it happens to land on a planet with suitable conditions, life can start there."