The essential cosmic life video from Russ and Kyle Allen: The Snake Bros
April 3rd question:
Q: Dr. C, please describe what you believe to be the most likely general scenario for the manner in which viral particles survive the entry into earth’s atmosphere. My understanding is that you believe viruses are orders of magnitude smaller than the tiny bits of comet they are encapsulated in, does that in some manner provide them protection from high speed atmospheric conditions? If they cant survive soap, how do they survive atmospheric entry?
The entry of microbes and viruses is discussed in an appendix in diseases from space. Whilst large fragments like pebbles and millimetre-sized bits get heated as they enter the atmosphere at speeds of 10km/s, and many burn as meteors, smaller structures survive. For example an atom or molecule survives and even a virus coated with a submicron sized coating survives high speed entry. Also a larger cm sized fluffy, highly porous particle can survive entry because they have vibrational modes that get rid of the energy of impacting atoms. Clumps of viruses have been stuck onto the outside of a rocket and found to survive at it was shot through the atmosphere. Soap acts chemically with the virus and is another matter, I suppose