Wesson argues that even if the actual microbes are dead on arrival, the information they carry could allow life to rise from the charred remains, an idea he calls necropanspermia.
“The vast majority of organisms reach a new home in the Milky Way in a technically dead state,” Wesson wrote. “Resurrection may, however, be possible.”
The key lies in how much genetic information survives the trip, Wesson says. An organism’s genetic information is encoded in the sequence of nucleotides in their DNA. This information can be measured in bits in the same way as computer processes. Bacteria like E. coli, for example, carry about 6 million bits of information in their DNA.
Random chemical processes couldn’t produce enough information to run even a simple cell. Over 500 million years, random molecular shuffling would produce only 194 bits of information, Wesson says.
One possible way around this paradox is the idea that life on Earth was seeded by biological molecules that already had a large information content that survived the journey even though the molecules themselves were killed.
Wesson is a bit fuzzy on how that information would translate to new, healthy living things.
All Life on Earth Could Have Come From Alien Zombies