Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The theory that microorganisms or biochemical compounds from outer space are responsible for originating life on Earth and possibly in other parts of the universe where suitable environmental conditions exist.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Same as panspermatism.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The doctrine of the widespread distribution of germs, from which under favorable circumstances bacteria, vibrios, etc., may develop.
  • noun The doctrine that all organisms must come from living parents; biogenesis; -- the opposite of spontaneous generation.
  • noun The theory that life on earth originated from spores or germs that evolved elsewhere in the uiniverse; -- in contradistinction to the theory that life evolved on earth from inanimate matter. This theory, originally suggested by S. Arrhenius in 1907, is sometimes advanced by those who feel that the time required for evolution of life is too long for life to have evolved on Earth from inanimate matter.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The hypothesis that microorganisms may transmit life from outer space to habitable bodies; or the process of such transmission.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Greek panspermiā, mixture of all seeds : pan-, pan- + sperma, seed; see sperm.]

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Examples

  • Keep in mind that "directed panspermia" is based on the idea that life will arise some place by natural means, then disperse from there.

    Abiogenesis and Evolution

  • I love this article in which Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe says that life was brought here to Earth by comets, a theory he jointly proposed called panspermia in which interstellar dust is partly organic in nature and in comets.

    We Are All Aliens!

  • I love this article in which Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe says that life was brought here to Earth by comets, a theory he jointly proposed called panspermia in which interstellar dust is partly organic in nature and in comets.

    Archive 2010-02-01

  • You could have read it as a nod to the idea of panspermia, but to me it smacked of intelligent design and creationism.

    msnbc.com: Top msnbc.com headlines

  • If Hoover's claims are true, his findings will support a theory called "panspermia."

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • Scientists have speculated that life could have come to Earth from space - a notion called panspermia - since the

    Wired Top Stories

  • The fact that living organisms do survive in open space seems to support the idea of panspermia - life spreading from planet to another, or even between solar systems.

    PhysOrg.com - latest science and technology news stories

  • To test this theory - called panspermia - Ruvkun and his colleagues have started a project called the Search for Extraterrestrial Genomes (SETG, as a play on SETI).

    Space News From SpaceDaily.Com

  • To test this theory - called panspermia - Ruvkun and his colleagues have started a project called the Search for Extraterrestrial Genomes (SETG, as a play on SETI).

    Space Business and Industry News at SpaceMart.com

  • A few scientists support the idea of panspermia ( "all seed"), according to which life exist all over the universe, or the more moderate concept of exogenesis ( "outside origin") where life on Earth originated elsewhere, maybe in the form of extraterrestrial microbes brought here with meteorites.

    The Brussels Journal - The Voice of Conservatism in Europe

Comments

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  • The hypothesis that life on Earth originated from microorganisms from outer space. (Wiktionary)

    July 6, 2008

  • An awesome word and theory.

    July 6, 2008

  • A theory that radically changes the question from "how did life begin?" to "how did life begin?".

    July 6, 2008

  • Fertility clinic.

    July 6, 2008

  • A kind of bread I don't want to try.

    July 6, 2008

  • Peter Panspermia. The hypothesis that life never quite grows up on Earth and eventually peters out.

    July 6, 2008

  • Brilliant, gangerh.

    July 6, 2008

  • Used in Dinosaur Comics.

    August 18, 2009

  • Panspermians say that life here was flown

    By asteroid to engender our own.

    The speculative hurdle

    Is: What made the rock fertile,

    And by how many ancestors sown?

    January 16, 2014