Further thoughts on the ISS discovery news. FYI – From WIKIPEDIA : Diatoms are a major group of algae, and are among the most common types of phytoplankton. Diatoms are traditionally divided into two orders:
- centric diatoms (Centrales), which are radially symmetrical – this seems to be what has been identified but we are not sure
- pennate diatoms (Pennales), which are bilaterally symmetrical. The former are paraphyletic to the latter.
Richard Hoover is a world expert on diatoms and is seeking further information from the Russians to determine the classification of what has been found.
Question #1 : Are diatoms Eukaryotes? Yes, they are because they have at least one nucleus. So what has been found on the ISS seems to have been identified as large size diatoms.
Question #2 : did they also test for bacteria or archea (or even viruses?) ? Don’t know.
Question #3 : could a particle the size of a diatom rise up from earth to the ISS where there is no air to even “lift” the diatom? There is no way that a particle as large as a diatom could have been carried up to the the space station . It is a defiance of physics. As Richard Hoover wrote this morning :
The famous Russian Cosmonaut Vladimir Solovyev just announced that diatoms and other marine plankton were discovered alive on the outside of the windows of the Russian Section of the International Space Station—surviving in the hard vacuum, thermal, and radiation environment of space. This is consistent with the detection of diatoms embedded in the interior of the Polonnaruwa meteorite stones described in a paper with Chandra Wickramasinghe and Jamie Wallis published last year (2013) in the SPIE Astrobiology Volume. In 1986, the late Sir Fred Hoyle and I proposed in a paper in the Journal Earth, Moon, and Planets that planktonic diatoms could be spewed into space along with water and ice ejected from Europa or from comets and transferred to The Earth.
I do not think there is any possibility they could have been carried to the Space Station by air currents as was suggested, since air currents do not work in a vacuum.
Some critics may say that the diatom found on the space station is too closely related to well-recognised species of diatoms that exist on the Earth. An origin of such an organism in a comet, they could say makes no sense from an evolutionary biology standpoint as life strives always to be ideally adapted to its particular environment.
The reason why the space incident diatom is similar to a terrestrial diatom is that they both came from space. All life comes from space in the first place, and continues to do so. Life on Earth is an expression on the Earth of a Darwinian evolutionary scheme that has taken place over a vast cosmological scale. Not so long ago it would have been thought impossible to find the same species in opposite hemispheres of the Earth. The connected biosphere of the Earth has now to be regarded as being connected to a vast cosmological biosphere within which frequent exchanges of genes and genotypes have established a unity of all life in the cosmos.
I BELIEVE THIS IS STAGGERING NEW EVIDENCE FOR ONGOING PANSPERMIA.
PS. I thought it a good time to dig out two old papers on “Diatoms in Space” which I make available FREE here to my BLOG Readers.
Hoyle, F., Wickramasinghe, N.C., and Al-Mufti, S : Organo-Siliceous Biomolecules and the Infra-Red Spectrum of the Trapezium Nebula, Astrophysics and Space Science, 86, 63-69 (1982), Kluwer Academic Publishers. Diatoms1
Hoover, R.B., Hoyle, F., Wickramasinghe, N.C., Hoover, M.J., and Al-Mufti, S.: Diatoms on Earth, Comets, Europa and in Interstellar Space, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1985. Diatoms2