|Photo Credit: National Geographic|
What are the chances that microbial life exists in meteorites or the asteroids from which they broke off? Scientists have already found that some forms of life can live in the vacuum of space. In addition, the Tardigrade can live in space for up to 10 days, taking in radiation far beyond what a human could withstand. This article from 2011 talks about a rare type of cyanobacteria that was found fossilized in a carbonaceous meteorite. These are the types of articles I researched when I was planning my upcoming novel Symbiote, set for release in September 2014.
In my novel, I posit that alien parasites can indeed survive in or on a meteorite as well as the journey through our atmosphere. I consider this speculative fiction, as the science is certainly leaning this direction, with life possible on meteorites and asteroids, but not being conclusively proven yet. In Symbiote, I go into the implications of this, of what it would mean for the Earth if such a thing were to occur. From there, the novel transgresses to more of a soft science fiction, in which I explore one possibility of an alien parasite and what it could do if it came in contact with a human.
Think of this: We come into contact with millions of kinds of bacteria in the course of our lives and some of them make us sick. Some of them could make us die. But some of them are necessary for digestive function. The line is thin but it is there. The major question throughout the novel is whether or not the alien parasite is truly that, or if it is in fact symbiotic. What changes would occur in the human body if it came in contact with this extraterrestrial microbe? Would it change who we are? To find out, you’ll have to pick up a copy when it comes out next month. Until then, I’m open to questions or comments on the possibilities of us actually finding life on a meteorite that falls to Earth.