I delivered a lecture entitled “New evidence for life as a cosmic phenomenon” at the Astronomical Society of Oman in Muscat on 15th January 2014, at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka on 23rd January. The audience at Peradeniya included Professor Rohana Chandrajith, Professor of Geology, who had been reported as being antagonistic to the idea that the Polonnaruwa (Aralaganwila) stones that fell on 29th December 2012 were indeed meteorites1. In a discussion that followed the lecture Professor Chandrajith agreed that the Polonnaruwa stones in question did not resemble any that can be found anywhere locally. He further confirmed that his earlier reservations were based on the fact that these stones were different structurally and compositionally from any of the known and documented classes of meteorites. He alo agreed that there is no possibility that these could be fragments of industrial slag as was proposed by some critics.
The most recent studies of the Aralaganwila stones by Jamie Wallis et al2,3 that show oxygen isotope compositions inconsistent with Earth material, as well as extraordinarily high amounts of the terrestrially rare chemical element iridium strengthens the case for the Polonnaruwa stones being meteorites, and if so they contain unequivocal evidence of the existence of extraterrestrial microbial life. This discovery would then transform the way we think about the Earth and of life upon it as radically and profoundly as did the Copernican revolution some 500 years ago.
The view that the Polonnaruwa meteorites represent fragments of loosely held siliceous grain material within a cometary bolide from which water and volatiles were boiled off upon entry, thus leaving a highly porous structure, remains the most plausible explanation of all the available facts. A provisional identification with meteoroids in the annual Taurid meteor stream4 which we originally made is interesting particularly in view of the fact that the large bolide which led to the Tunguska event of 1908 did not lead to the recovery of any large meteorite fragments.
On 24th January 2014 I had an audience with His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapakse, President of the Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka. I appraised the President of the latest findings regarding the Aralaganwila meteorite and urged His Excellency to declare the location of the 29th December 2012 meteorite fall as a site of national scientific heritage. In the fullness of time the events of this day that took place in Sri Lanka would be regarded as having established beyond doubt that life is a truly cosmic phenomenon. President Rajapakse gave assent to this proposal without reservation and immediately set in train the protocol that would ensure its implementation