India’s first Astrobiology Conference Life in Space – was organised in the city of MUMBAI by the Indian Astrobiology Research Centre and IARC Centre for United Nations in collaboration with Nehru Science Centre.
Prof. Chandra Wickramasinghe from Churchill College, Cambridge University, UK delivered the first Arthur C Clarke memorial lecture, based on his four decades long quest for extraterrestrial life.
In particular his lecture reviewed his lifelong efforts to test the Panspermia Theory. In 2016 this remains the most likely hypothesis for the spreading of life across the galaxy.
As humans review the wonderful data from the recent ESA visit to Comet 67P, and as we prepare to visit Mars and moons of Jupiter and Saturn, evidence converges to Panspermia as still the most likely explanation on the spread of viruses, bacteria, algae etc across the Milky Way.
The theory of panspermia hypothesizes that life did not originate on Earth but was delivered to Earth from some other part of the galaxy or even from another part of the universe.
On this occasion, a new fund called, “Chandra Wickramasinghe Fund for Panspermia Research” was announced. This fund will encourage astrobiology research amongst students in India.
The Tanpopo project will hopefully confirm the survival of bacteria in the near-Earth environment at the distance of the ISS orbit and thus verify earlier results of Cockell et al (1). More importantly, perhaps it will sample the environment outside the ISS for ambient or in-falling microbes that may be of extraterrestrial origin. In this latter respect it would significantly extend earlier attempts to detect and isolate microbes in the stratosphere at heights of 41km (2-5). The relevance of this work towards confirming the Hoyle-Wickramasinghe theory of life as a cosmic phenomenon cannot be overlooked (6).
1. Exposure of phototrophs to 548 days in low Earth orbit: microbial selection pressures in outer space and on early earth
Charles S Cockell, Petra Rettberg, Elke Rabbow and Karen Olsson-Francis
The ISME Journal, 5, 1671–1682 (2011)
2. The detection of living cells in stratospheric samples
M.J. Harris, N.C. Wickramasinghe, D.Lloyd, J.V. Narlikar, P. Rajaratnam, M.P. Turner, S. Al-Mufti, M.K. Wallis, and F. Hoyle
Proceedings of the SPIE Conference, 4495, 192 (2002)
3. Microorganisms cultured from stratospheric air samples obtained at 41 km M. Wainwright, N.C. Wickramasinghe, J.V. Narlikar and P. Rajaratnam FEMS Microbiology Letters, 218, 1, 161 (2003)
4. Did silicon aid in the establishment of the first bacterium?
M. Wainwright, K. Al-Wajeeh, N.C. Wickramasinghe and J.V. Narlikar International Journal of Astrobiology, 2, 3, 227 (2003)
5. Progress towards the vindication of panspermia
N.C. Wickramasinghe, M. Wainwright, J.V. Narlikar, P. Rajaratnam, M.H. Harris and D. Lloyd Astrophysics and Space Science, 283, 403 (2003)
6. Astronomical Origins of Life: Steps towards Panspermia
F. Hoyle and N.C. Wickramasinghe (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2000)
The good news : as we have predicted, the complex molecules found are consistent with Panspermia.
We await MIDAS results from the Rosetta Orbiter, by PI Mark Bentley. Even though he is seeing particles down at the virus size level, he is being conservative (encouraged by his peers) calling the specks “Dust”.
If only ESA scientists would “dare to dream”, and announce the “dust” is consistent with the theory of Panspermia. Consistent with the proposal that viruses and bacteria are carried by Comets like 67P. Let’s face it, accepting the existence of microbes in short period comets is not too far a leap from accepting the interchange of microbes between planets. 67P is on a short 7 year orbit. Not much more mysterious than an asteroid.
We are not asking for misrepresentations nor inaccurate statements BUT the facts are that these specks on MIDAS do seem to be consistent with viral and bacterial clumps. If they are not microbial clumps and 67P has no microbes, then this really would be worthy of a paper.
Long Period Comets
But what if these were inter-stellar comets?
The Panspermia debate now switches to long period comets with orbits over 100,000 years. Last year ISON was such a comet. Most think these comets are elliptical and come in from the Oort Cloud. But with orbits sometimes over 100,000 years there is some possibility that many are parabolic and even Inter-stellar.
But what if these inter-stellar comets contain, and regularly bring to Earth, new types of viruses, bacteria or nano-microbes (as yet unidentified nano- and picoeukaryotes) that are part of the Milky Way biopool but new to the Earth?
Because of the age of the galaxy and the probable evolution of microbes on bodies across the galaxy, the long period comets can be expected to be carrying microbes new to the defence systems of animals and plants on Earth even though they are part of the same galactic biopool.
In the future, an RNA/DNA sample taken from an advancing long period comet, might well be used to identify the star source and so the catalog of microbes contained within.
At a UN-sponsored Symposium on the “Space Science and the United Nations” held in Graz Austria from 22-24 September 2014, I presented a paper entitled “The transition from Earth-centred biology to cosmic life” with co-authors Gensuke Tokoro and Milton Wainwright. The paper, now published in Journal of Cosmology (JoC, 24, 12080-12096) argues that a paradigm shift with potentially profound implications for humanity has been taking place over the past 3 decades and is on the verge of acceptance.
In an accompanying second paper (JoC, 24, 12097-12101) the same authors show that the recent discovery by radio astronomers of isopropyl cyanide in interstellar clouds adds to earlier discoveries in astronomy that have indicated the widespread occurrence of even more complex organics that can be interpreted as the break up products of living cells when they are exposed to conditions of space.
We argue in these two papers the new data is not consistent with the reigning dogma in science that life emerged from inorganic chemicals on the Earth. Life, including a capacity to evolve into the magnificent spectacle we see around us, requires a system infinitely bigger and much older than our truly insignificant planet Earth. A large fraction of the matter in the entire universe and enormous spans were needed generate the all-encompassing “blue print” of life. We argue that every living species on the Earth, including Homo sapiens. is the result of the assembly of cosmologically derived viral genes. Evidence for this point of view has grown to a stage that it can no longer be ignored by the scientific community.
Accepting our cosmic origins, and the evidence for a continuing ingress of alien viruses may be important for our very survival. We point out that new viruses capable of threatening Man’s very existence could arrive from space, and it will thus be prudent to monitor the stratosphere on a regular basis. Moreover, from an acceptance of our cosmic connection we need to understand that we must live in harmony with the Earth and its ever-changing biosphere if we are to coexist with it.
PS List of participants of the UN meeting includes the newly appointed acting NASA chief scientist Dr. Gale Allen. Hopefully Dr. Allan will now start working to change the highly negative attitude of NASA toward discoveries of extraterrestrial life and the implications for mankind and space sciences. The issue that needs to be addressed is that the existence of extraterrestrial life falsifies LCDMHC cosmology, where life anywhere is hopelessly improbable and certainly not homogenized on cosmic scales as indicated by the evidence.
Contacts: Professor N.C. Wickramasinghe, firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 7778389243
Professor G. Tokoro, email@example.com
Professor M. Wainwright, M.Wainwright@sheffield.ac.uk
Professor Rudy Schild (Editor in Chief, JoC), firstname.lastname@example.org
I am delighted to launch our new quarterly email newsletter. It is aimed at the general public with an interest in science and especially in my life-time passion – everything related to the sometimes contentious concept that LIFE IS A COSMIC PHENOMENON.
This newsletter will build upon this foundation, exploring increasing evidence for Panspermia as astrobiology starts to play a dominant role in most experiments underway and planned by NASA, the ESA, and by the Space Programs of China, India and Japan.
Feedback is appreciated. Please feel free to contact me :
Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe Director of the Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology, University of Buckingham, Buckingham, UK http://www.profchandra.org