Dumping a dead body in space could be the key to creating aliens...
Scientists think that sending a floating corpse to space could help other living organisms thrive elsewhere in the universe.
Various factors are needed to preserve a corpse in space. Firstly, the body needs to be contained above freezing – but not too hot - to ensure that liquid can survive. Usually, living organisms would die in the atmosphere but if the corpse is in a custom astronaut suit it has better chances of surviving.
Gary King, microbiologist from Louisiana, told Astronomy.com: “It's also possible that other, non-sporing bacteria could survive as well. I'm thinking about microbes like Deinococcus radiodurans, which we know can survive low levels of water and high amounts of ionizing radiation.”
Additionally, the flight time plays a crucial role. King states that if the body travels at the rate of a normal satellite it will take it 4.2 light years to reach another star system. The longer the body travels through space the less likely it is for the microbes to survive. However, as Dr King mentioned, certain organisms can survive high radiation levels, which is why he believes it is possible. The dead body also needs to be hosting essential molecules, such as triphosphates once it lands on the planet.
Jack Szostak, who studies genesis at Glasgow University, said: The molecules released from the decaying astronaut could potentially provide a boost to a new origin [of life] if the environmental conditions were almost perfect for life to begin, but just a few ingredients were missing or present in too low concentrations.”