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Proceedings Paper

Arrhenius reconsidered: astrophysical jets and the spread of spores
Author(s): Malkah I. Sheldon; Robert B. Sheldon
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Paper Abstract

In 1871, Lord Kelvin suggested that the fossil record could be an account of bacterial arrivals on comets. In 1903, Svante Arrhenius suggested that spores could be transported on stellar winds without comets. In 1984, Sir Fred Hoyle claimed to see the infrared signature of vast clouds of dried bacteria and diatoms. In 2012, the Polonnaruwa carbonaceous chondrite revealed fossilized diatoms apparently living on a comet. However, Arrhenius' spores were thought to perish in the long transit between stars. Those calculations, however, assume that maximum velocities are limited by solar winds to ~5 km/s. Herbig-Haro objects and T-Tauri stars, however, are young stars with jets of several 100 km/s that might provide the necessary propulsion. The central engine of bipolar astrophysical jets is not presently understood, but we argue it is a kinetic plasma instability of a charged central magnetic body. We show how to make a bipolar jet in a belljar. The instability is non-linear, and thus very robust to scaling laws that map from microquasars to active galactic nuclei. We scale up to stellar sizes and recalculate the viability/transit-time for spores carried by supersonic jets, to show the viability of the Arrhenius mechanism.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 September 2015
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 9606, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XVII, 96060S (11 September 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2187138
Show Author Affiliations
Malkah I. Sheldon, Covenant Christian Academy (United States)
Robert B. Sheldon, Grassmere Dynamics LLC (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9606:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XVII
Richard B. Hoover; Gilbert V. Levin; Alexei Yu. Rozanov; Nalin C. Wickramasinghe, Editor(s)

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