"One of the big scientific questions is how did life get started and how did it spread through the universe," said Jay Melosh, distinguished professor of earth and atmospheric sciences.
All four planets found in Gliese 581 are within close proximity to their central star, which results in large orbital velocities, Brock said. However, the initial velocity of material leaving Planet d is not enough to allow exchanges among planets.
"Ejections from Planet d have a low probability of impact on any other planet than itself, and most ejected particles would enter an initial hyperbolic orbit and be ejected from the planetary system," Brock said.
Several members of Purdue's planetary sciences department are attending the 43rd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, presenting research on possible biologic contamination of Mars' moon Phobos by microbes from the surface of Mars; the formation of jets on comets; and gravity anomalies around large lunar craters.
"Purdue has quite a showing of different people at this conference to showcase their work," Melosh said.Writer: Brian Peloza, 765-494-2081, email@example.com
Brian Peloza | EurekAlert!
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