Email from Bill Smith to Haley Sapers 2015-7-10
Dear Haley :
Chandra writes : I will certainly send you (Bill and Haley) the meteorite sample – a porous piece of rock about 2-3 cm across.
Before I send Chandra the shipping details, please confirm you are still ready to undertake this project. It would help if you could summarize the experiments you felt necessary. I am hoping you will use additional equipment and techniques.
I am concerned over contamination and will ask Chandra to discuss the status of contamination of the rock with you by email.
Once you are ready and have OK’d the project, I would like to track your progress in a BLOG. I think the global community will be very interested.
The following six (6) peer-reviewed papers represent what was completed, documented and published in 2013 :
1) Vol 21 No. 37 (a) published 10-1-2013 Fossil Diatoms in a new Carbonaceous Meteorite
Abstract : We report the discovery for the first time of diatom frustules in a carbonaceous meteorite that fell in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka on 29 December 2012.
Contamination is excluded by the circumstance that the elemental abundances within the structures match closely with those of the surrounding matrix. There is also evidence of structures morphologically similar to red rain cells that may have contributed to the episode of red rain that followed within days of the meteorite fall. The new data on “fossil” diatoms provide strong evidence to support the theory of cometary panspermia.
2) Vol 21 No. 38 (b) published 13-1-2013 On the Cometary Origin of the Polonnaruwa Meteorite
Abstract : The diatoms discovered in the Polonnaruwa meteorite are interpreted as originating in comets and the dust in interstellar space. The exceptionally porous structure of the Polonnaruwa meteorite points to it being a recently denuded cometary fragment. Microorganisms that were present in a freeze-dried state within pores and cavities may have survived entry to be added to the terrestrial biosphere.
We conclude by reporting that an extract from the interior of a Polonnaruwa meteorite sample, studied under a light microscope at the Medical Research Institute in Colombo, was found to contain living diatoms (See Fig.4). If this result is confirmed in future studies and contamination is excluded, the meteorite would have been shown to contain both fossil as well as living microbes, and panspermia thus demonstrated in real time.
3) Vol 21 No. 39 © published 4-2-2013 Authenticity of the Life Bearing Polonnaruwa Meteorite
Abstract : We show that the Polonnaruwa stones that were collected on 29 December 2012 following a witnessed fireball, in which we found biological structures, do not possess properties that are consistent with fulgurites on the basis of X-ray diffraction studies, and other data. The existence of distinct diatom frustules fused into the rock matrix makes recent contamination unlikely. Contamination
4) Vol 21 No. 40 (d) published 8-2-2013 Living Diatoms In Polonnaura Meteorite – Possible Link to Red and Yellow Rain
Abstract : Meteoroids belonging to a cometary meteor stream, upon entering the atmosphere, could undergo hierarchical fragmentation, and the smallest micron-sized dust might serve to nucleate rain. The larger fragments that survive passage through the atmosphere may end up as the spray of meteorites such as were collected in Sri Lanka on 29th December 2012 and 3rd January 2013. We show tentative evidence for the presence a wide range of genera and species of diatoms which are living, in addition to those discovered in SEM studies that are fossilised.
5) Vol 22 No. 2 published 5-3-2013 Oxygen Isotope, Crystalline and Biological Composition
Abstract: Results of X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) analysis, Triple Oxygen Isotope analysis and Scanning Electron Microscopic (SEM) studies are presented for stone fragments recovered from the North Central Province of Sri Lanka following a witnessed fireball event on 29 December 2012.
The existence of numerous nitrogen depleted highly carbonaceous fossilized biological structures fused into the rock matrix is inconsistent with recent terrestrial contamination.
Oxygen isotope results compare well with those of CI and CT-like chondrites but are inconsistent with the fulgurite hypothesis.
6) Vol 22 No. 1 published 5-3-2013 INCIDENCE OF LOW DENSITY METEOROIDS OF THE POLONNARUWA-TYPE.
Abstract : The ingress of micrometeorites of cometary origin with densities below ~ 1 g cm-3 into the Earth could average at least 5 tonne per day. Although much of this is burnt upon entry through the atmosphere as meteors, a non-trivial fraction (~10%) which have sizes of ~ 1
Notes on 2013 experiments on the the Polonnaruwa meterorite
From: Richard Hoover [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: May 21, 2013 3:32 PM
To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>; <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Confidential – Jan/Feb 2013 Polonnaruwa Meteorite analysis results
Your summary is not entirely correct.
1. Nitrogen analysis.
I personally conducted the study of nitrogen levels present in diatoms, cyanobacterial filaments, Hystrichospheres and actriarch fossils that I found embedded in the Polonnaruwa stones that O personally collected in Sri Lanka. These studies were carried out at NASA/MSFC and at Cardiff University in collaboration with Prof. Wickramasinghe and other members of the team.
The stones contained clearly biological forms that did not contain detectable nitrogen levels.
1. This is not Necessary for the forms to be indigenous to the stones rather than contaminants. If the diatoms & Cyanobacteria had lived on the parent body and died in the last hundred thousand years or so, then they could contain nitrogen and still be extraterrestrial.
2. The absence of nitrogen in Biological remains in the stones is SUFFICIENT to establish that these remains are NOT MODERN CONTAMINANTS.
The Polonnaruwa stones fell on Dec. 29, 2012. Any microbes that entered the stones after they fell would contain detectable levels of Nitrogen. That also applies to the other carbonaceous meteorites that I have examined. Alais fell in 1806— only a little over 200 years ago. The loss of Nitrogen requires geological time periods (millions of years) rather than weeks or centuries.
The other tests 2, 3, and 4 are not necessary to conclude that the fossils in Polonnaruwa are indigenous. Those studies have been performed by many other researchers on a wide variety ofCI1 and CM2 meteorites that also contain fossils that lack nitrogen. Those remains have also been dismissed as recent contaminants—with no effort to answer the problems posed by the missing biomolecules—which would certainly be present if the stones contained post arrival biological remains.
You did not answer my question in the prior e-mail. Did you ask Caleb or any of the other critics how they can explain the absence of these life critical biomolecules in stones contaminated after they landed by living terrestrial microbes? I have discussed this problem with prominent biochemists and microbiologists and have yet to hear any Answer whatsoever.
William E. (Bill) Smith
Institute for the Study of Panspermia and Astroeconomics
c/o KBP, 4-1-7/8F
No.801, Kagano, Ogaki-City
Gifu 503-0006, Japan
July 6, 2015 : by Bill Smith – post graduate student of Chandra Wickramasinghe.
As NASA has now changed its overall mission tag from “Search for Water” to “Seeking the Signs of Life”; and as missions to Titan, Enceladus, Europa and Mars are planned to “seek for the signs of life”, the astrobiologists of this new generation are no longer constrained to seek life just on earth.
The spread of material from Mars to Earth and back, is proven and accepted; the associated spread of viruses and bacteria, live, dessicated or fossilized, is statistically likely and studied by astrobiologists in Universities around the world. It is now mainstream science, so get over it.
The Hoyle-Wickramasinghe Model of Panspermia has remained the most likely model for over 40 years and over the last 5 years discoveries in deep earth, deep rock and deep space have increased the likelihood that we will find our “little friends” on most solar system bodies – from Mars, Titan, Europa and Enceladus.
Comets with their short orbits contained within the inner solar system, (ie short period comets), have likely seen continuous transfer of microbes since “Day 1”. Rosetta’s Comet 67P is a 8 year orbit comet, so it falls into the category of very likely containing solar system microbes. Personally I am more excited about long period comets like ISON coming in from the Oort Cloud and likely even adjacent stars. There is every possibility they contain new strains of microbes.
But 67P is “one of ours”. So if Rosetta and Philae experiments find “NO” microbes, this will indeed be a major discovery and will be a start of a huge rethink. Even challenging the validity of Panspermia.
The probability is Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe will be again proven right and their vision acknowledged. Surely, in this birth centenary year of Sir Fred, the champagne will flow at Churchill College, Cambridge University, UK.
The pressure exerted by sunlight (radiation pressure force) would not be significant for the comet, but only act on the dust escaping from the surface. That is why the dust tails curve away from the gas tails in comets. At perihelion the solar energy arriving at the surface would be greater and so raise the surface temperature. This could have the effect of increasing the sublimation rate of ices, and along with the water vapour gas dust particles could also escape.
However, my view is that the extra solar heat conducted into regions tens of metres deep would lead to warm lakes containing biology, and biological replication with gas production (methane, CO2) would rupture the surface and produce geysers carrying microbes with the gas.
Nuclear energy sources (radioactive decay of Al-26, for example) would be confined to the early history of comets in the solar system.
Does this answer your question?
Chandra: Yes, the tidal forces are totally negligible.
Prof. Chandra Wickramasinghe
Dear C, thanks. Perfect answer. I assume as you do not mention gravity, that the sun’s gravitational attraction , max at the perihelion, is not contorting the comet? Sent from my Windows Phone
Dear Chandra: In my student days I would not have had to ask you this question. But I have not enough time to relearn orbit mathematics even though I have “scanned” this : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbit
I am thinking about the force exerted on a orbiting comet as it approaches its perihelion. I assume the force is maximum at the perihelion.
As 67P’s perihelion is further out from earth (between earth and mars) I was wondering what the “pressure” really was on the comet? Are you sure this is what is causing the geysers to increase? Somewhere you wrote/implied that the geyser-causing pressure might be nuclear?
One of the first papers released post Rosetta landing states “the Rosetta mission found that the comet’s water contains more of a hydrogen isotope called deuterium than water on Earth does”.
I have always thought that the source of water on earth was more likely long period Comets coming in from the Oort Cloud – or even in fact comets sling-shot in from an adjacent star.
To me this is no surprise. Just like Halley, 67P is a short period comet. But could its water have been ejected from MARS or VENUS? I must check the Rosetta paper and the hydrogen isotope ratio compared to that of water measured on other bodies such as on Mars.
The hydrogen isotope measure could be thoughts of as a fingerprint of the water’s source : ie from
- another solar system planet
- Asteroid (usually rock with minimal water)
- Kuiper Belt Comet
- Oort Cloud Comet
- Adjacent Solar Systems
We still seem to be looking at evidence from an “earth centric” point of view. I expect one day we might discover the hydrogen isotope fingerprint ratio is ideal to determine the source star. I think though this will not be as useful a fingerprint as the DNA/Protein Fingerprint of the Viruses and Bacteria.
It was a paradigm shifting moment when in the summer of 2013 NASA’s Mars Curiosity Press Conference displayed the following backdrop :
So NASA was tacitly acknowledging that its umbrella mission was no longer the “Search for Water” but was now “Seeking the Signs of Life”. The Kepler Mission had caused a “consciousness change” in human expectations for life off the planet earth. With Kepler telling us that almost every star in the Milky Way Galaxy has at least one habitable planet, it was suddenly much more likely that “Life is a Cosmic Phenomenon” than that “Life started on Earth and is unique to Earth”.
By 2013 , the 2009 book “Virolution” by Frank Ryan was already having a profound impact on man’s understanding of “symbiosis” – the idea that the most successful life-forms across the earth and likely the Universe, were viruses and bacteria, and that even “sophisticated entities” like humans perhaps existed as an environment for their occupation.
The realization that viruses and bacteria thrive in the most extreme conditions on earth : in deep ice; in deep rock below deep oceans and even outside the International Space Station, makes it more than likely that humans have inadvertently contaminated every body where we have sent probes, even though we have worked diligently to avoid contamination.
2013 was also the year NASA’s chief Astrobiologist Chris McKay started talking about Panspermia and how asteroid and meteor collisions likely carried microbes from planet to planet in the early days of the formation of the planets. It is now mainstream science that of the 60,000 meteorites found on earth, 124 have been confirmed to come from Mars.
Universe Today, Dec 3, 2014 : According to a recent paper submitted by an international team of scientists, that evidence may have arrived on Earth three and a half years ago aboard a meteorite that fell in the Moroccan desert. Believed to have broken away from Mars 700,000 years ago, so-called Tissint meteorite has internal features that researchers say appear to be organic materials. The paper appeared in the scientific journal Meteoritics and Planetary Sciences. In it, the research team – which includes scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) – indicate organic carbon is located inside fissures in the rock. All indications are the meteorite is Martian in origin. “So far, there is no other theory that we find more compelling,” says Philippe Gillet, director of EPFL’s Earth and Planetary Sciences Laboratory. He and his colleagues from China, Japan and Germany performed a detailed analysis of organic carbon traces from a Martian meteorite, and have concluded that they have a very probable biological origin’.
As one of the original Rosetta Mission Principal Investigators, Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe has a long history of studying the interstellar medium. He and Sir Fred Hoyle, who would have been 100 next year (2015), developed the Hoyle-Wickramasinghe Model of the Panspermia. This was first proposed over 3 decades ago (Hoyle and Wickramasinghe, 1981). According to this theory comets carry not only organic molecules that could serve as chemical building blocks of life, but life itself in the form of freeze-dried microorganisms – bacteria and viruses.
There are two types of comets : the long period comets with orbits of 100,000 years originating in the Oort Cloud at the very edge of the Solar System; then the short period comets like 67P and Halley . The orbit of 67P is just 7 years. Wickramasinghe studied 67P last time around the sun 7 years ago, in 2007. One of the biggest questions concerning these short period comets is about what is causing the “geysers” to shoot out water and particles creating the well known cometary tails. It is much easier to understand the long period “Sungrazer Comets” like ISON which pass very close to the Sun and are often “sublimated” by the heat. But when the closest a comet gets to the Sun is between Earth and Mars, then there is no extreme heat? So just what is causing the pressure that forces the “geysers”, already seen coming out from 67P.
Two Papers are offered by Professor Wickramasinghe which Provide Background Reading for Rosetta Scientists Wickramasinghe has made available two papers to help the next generation of scientists understand the history of Cometary Panspermia theory and to encourage debate on these hypotheses as experimental evidence starts to be published by the Rosetta Team :
1. with Max Wallis : Outgassing due to ice-sublimation was already evident in September 2014 at 3.3AU, with surface temperature peaks of 220-230K, which implies impure ice mixtures with less strongly-bound H2O. Increasing rates of sublimation as Rosetta follows comet 67P around its 1.3 AU perihelion will further reveal the nature and prevalence of near-surface ices.
2. with Milton Wainwright : The evidence of refrozen seas and lakes plus the early outgassing activity point to the action of microbiology, which could also explain more distant outbursts. While microorganisms probably require liquid water bodies for their early colonising of a comet, they can inhabit cracks in ice and sub-crustal snow, especially if they contain anti-freeze salts and biopolymers. Some organisms metabolise at temperatures as low as 230K, explaining the coma out at 3.9AU and our prediction is that they would become increasingly active in the near-surface layers as the comet approaches its 1.3 AU perihelion. The detection of organic molecules at the surface by Philae and through IR imaging
These three scientists seek not to publish early to stake any claims. Rather they seek only to encourage and guide their younger peers – the Rosetta and NASA scientists- as they embrace the NASA challenge of “Starting the Difficult Challenge of Seeking the Signs of Life”.
I thought you may be interested to hear that The Journal of Astrobiology and Outreach has asked me to be their Editor in Chief!
We are watching the Rosetta Landing with bated breath!
Open letter to NASA :
I recommend this should be the focus of the high level PR over the next few weeks. If we fail to find signs of life then that WOULD also be serious news.
So far Rosetta has detected vast quantities of water, methane and alcohol.
Instruments on Philae (eg MIDAS instrument) can detect proteins, viruses and bacteria sized nanoparticles. If none are detected, then this would be a serious setback to intersolarsystem Panspermia. Some are predicting fossilized diatoms in the surface pebbles; as well as dormat or even active Viruses and Bacteria under the surface.
Conversely finding such particles would be as significant as the Russian discovery of life growing on the outside windows of the ISS – samples returned to earth last week.
Which discovery will be published first to confirm that life is likely to be a cosmic phenomenon?
Dear Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe : In March 2014, I completed a paper entitled “Comet ISON – The Carrier of Life from Another Star System” See free PDF at http://1drv.ms/1o9sIhk . This is in the format of a magazine article but has not been published. The conclusion on p.38 includes the following paragraph :
3.10 Can we expect new Viruses in 2014?
And of course anyone and everyone intrigued by the possibility that Comets deliver pathogens to Earth, will be carefully tracking any instances of new virus breakouts over the next 12 months (2014), hoping none are found and that Panspermia is untrue, as the consequences of Comets carrying new viruses is troubling at best.
Also in March 2014, I wrote the following paper on the Preliminary Results of Observations in January 2014 of a meteor shower of Comet ISON (C/2012 S1). Free PDF at http://1drv.ms/1o9t73m
The meteor counts are consistent with the hypothesis that earth did pass through Comet ISON’s long tail in January 7-23, 2014, and that this caused a significant increase in meteor counts as detected by observers in Minsk, Belarus.
Status – October 2014
It is with some concern that in October 2014, the Ebola and Enterovirus outbreaks are now accelerating. It also appears that the first instance of the current Ebola outbreak occurred on December 31, 2013. Wikipedia states “Researchers traced the outbreak to a two-year old child who died on 28 December 2013”.
I have felt that there were two contact moments when earth was potentially exposed to pathogens from ISON.
1. On Nov 28, 2013, when the comet reached its perihelion and “exploded”, I calculated the “particles”, now small enough to be swept by the solar wind, would take just minutes to reach earth distances. BUT there were two unknowns :
a. What was the “cone size and shape” from the explosion and
b. would this “solar wind” created blast be directed into or close to earth. Would the solar wind pick up the pathogens whole before they were reduced to just complex molecules. Ie would a nanoparticle of the size of a virus (10-8 meters) be swept up by the solar wind before the heat broke it up into molecules?
2. On January 7-23, 2014 as earth passes through ISON’s tail
I am hesitant to associate either of the current pathogen outbreaks to ISON, but do ask your guidance :
Here is my question : How would we begin to determine the possible bacterial/viral effect of ISON? Would we not expect outbreaks of Ebola and Enterovirus to occur, over the next few months, in people and places with no contact with existing patients?
If this does NOT occur then this would disprove the ISON/Pathogen Conjecture. Correct?
I think your conjecture of a connection between new viral disease outbreaks and Comet Ison is valid on the basis of the comet virus theory. However both the Ebola virus and the enterovirus have been endemic viruses for some time, In the case of Ebola, particular localised reservoirs of have been identified and these may have been initially arrived from space. Recent events are consistent with a transformative virion being delivendered at the times you suggest, and this has the effect of enhancing the virulence of the endemic viruses. On this basis I would not expect to find new cases outside the existing reservoir areas except by means of aerosol transport if that was possible. Perhaps a transforming virion addition could have the effect of rendering the Ebola virus more robust in becoming able to survive such transport.
Prof. Chandra Wickramasinghe
Director, Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology and Honorary Professor, University of Buckingham, UK
Visiting Professor University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
Member of the Board of Trustees and Director of Research of the Institute for the Study of Panspermia and Astroeconomics, Gifu, Japan