Category Archives: Panspermia

2018-5-20 : Invited to COSPAR 2018 : 14 – 22 July 2018, Pasadena, CA,

2018-5-20 : Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe invited to COSPAR 2018 – COSPAR 2018

Prof Nalin Chandra Wickramasinghe
Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology, University of Buckingham, UK
24 Llwyn Y Pia Road Lisvane
CF14 0SY Cardi
United Kingdom
March 30, 2018

Notice of Acceptance and Schedule, 42nd COSPAR Scienti fic Assembly, 14 – 22 July 2018,
Pasadena, CA, United States of America

Speaking on July 18.  Presentation in scienti c event E1.9, Lecture Room SR 18 (PCC) on Wednesday, July 18, 2018, 14:30-15:00 (30 min).

2018-3-1 : MICROBES FROM SPACE:  IGNORING FACTS TO OUR PERIL

In 1981 when the most startling example of extremophilic microorganisms known was possibly M radiodurans Fred Hoyle and I wrote this in “Evolution from Space” :

“Bacteria are found occupying tiny specialised niches.  Thus J.G. Zeikus and R.S. Wolfe(3) isolated a highly thermophylic methanogenic bacterium which required conditions for replication that were very peculiar, namely an atmosphere with a 4 to 1 mixture of free hydrogen to carbon dioxide and a temperature of at least 40oC.  The optimum temperature for growth was 65oC and free oxygen had to be strictly absent.  It may be wondered where on the Earth such conditions exist.  The answer is in sewage sludge, a product of modern industrial society.

Such cases fit well with our picture.  The cycle of (Fig 1) contains bacteria with the ability to exist in a range of environments much wider than anything found on the Earth.  Bacteria arrive here from space with the full range of cosmic properties, and terrestrial conditions simply filter out the restricted subset that can survive when they arrive at ground-level.  The subset depends on available chemical – rocks, soils, ocean water with its dissolved contents, mine tailing, sewage sludge, volcanic hot springs, birds nest and so on.  Whenever any new environment, however specialised or small it may be, arises either from natural or manmade causes, new bacteria from the wide spectrum of cosmic possibilities are available to take advantage of it.”

My full comments can be seen by clicking on the PDF  here : READ MORE

PS This PDF was written by me today, as a 2018 comment on this recent piece : http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/02/microbes-found-one-earth-s-most-hostile-places-giving-hope-life-mars

 

2017-11-22: Are We the Aliens We Seek?

“Aliens have reached Earth, say researchers from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Physics and Astronomy, basing their dramatic findings on a new study of fast-moving extraterrestrial dust that constantly rains down on our atmosphere. These particles serve as tiny ‘spaceships’ for microorganisms from alien worlds that traverse the vastness of interstellar space for eons before reaching Earth. This dusty downpour could also collide with biological particles in Earth’s atmosphere with enough energy to send them careening into space, and conceivably onwards to other planets in other solar systems.

Astrobiologists earlier found evidence of microorganisms reaching the planet in air samples taken at extreme altitudes, and from the discovery in 1984 of fossilised worms in a meteorite from Mars. Exciting data from the 1976 Viking space probes, which actually confirmed the presence of Martian microorganisms but were overlooked for 25 years by careless scientists, back these findings. In 2006, researchers from Columbia University discovered traces of amino acids – the building blocks of life – on meteorites that landed in Australia and the US less than a hundred years ago.

Some scientists argue that these extraterrestrial amino acids mixed with moisture in Earth’s ancient atmosphere to produce an acidic “soup” that then nourished the planet’s first organisms. This ties in with the panspermia theory, which says that outer space seeded Earth with comet-borne primitive life forms over four billion years ago. Panspermia never found favour with modern-day scientists till the 1970s, when the late Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramesinghe came across “traces of life” in interstellar dust. When cultured, two species of bacteria and a microfungus found in space rocks turned out to be similar to terrestrial organisms – just as panspermia had predicted. Hoyle and Wickramasinghe believed that a torrent of such “life-altering stuff from space” reaches Earth in cycles related to solar activity and has affected the evolution of terrestrial life. If this is indeed the reality, the ‘miracle’ of life could happen anywhere, and our microbial ancestors, or more evolved cousins, are scattered like chaff throughout the universe” , by   ON 

 

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2017-8-7 : A Community Grows around the Geysering World of Enceladus

“As Cassini’s extraordinary 13 years of exploration concludes, enjoy this up-to-the-minute, far-reaching, wide-ranging look at that little moon Enceladus, at Saturn with the big possibilities”,  Carolyn C. Porco, University of California, Berkeley, California.  Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colorado.

“The four following papers in this collection address, in one form or another, the anticipated bioloads at Enceladus, and the detectable biosignatures that might be present in its plume. Steel et al. (2017) construct a thermal model that assumes 10% of the geothermal heat emerging from the moon’s core drives hot (90°C) hydrothermal fluid flow, which results, through water/rock interactions, in the production of H2. In their work, 100% of the molecular hydrogen thus produced is subsequently consumed by methanogens to produce biomass. They thus estimate, at the vents, 90 μM of biologically produced amino acids, and microbial concentrations as high as 109 cells/mL; 10% of the latter rise in the thermal plumes that originate at the vents and eventually reach the base of the ice shell. If these authors are correct, and Enceladus approaches this high-efficiency scenario, especially if the process of bubble-scrubbing (see below) is at work, then the search for biosignatures, even microbes, in the samples collected from Enceladus’ plume could be easily accomplished.”

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Chandra Wickramasinghe

PS “Convergence to Panspermia”?

Enhanced interplanetary panspermia in the TRAPPIST-1 system

Delighted to read this May 2017 paper by  Manasvi Lingam and Abraham Loeb

Significance

The search for extraterrestrial life is one of the most exciting frontiers in present-day astronomy. Recently, the TRAPPIST-1 star was discovered to host seven rocky planets with masses and radii similar to those of the Earth, of which at least three of them may be capable of supporting life. Our paper addresses the possibility that life on one of these planets can spread to others through the transfer of rocky material. We conclude that this process has a high probability of being operational, implying that this planetary system may possess multiple life-bearing planets. Thus, our work has profound theoretical and observational consequences for future studies of the TRAPPIST-1 system and the likelihood of life in our galaxy.

http://www.pnas.org/content/114/26/6689.abstract

2017-7-1 : Sky At Night Asks “Did Life Come From Space” – Again after 40 years

It was 11 October 1978, 40 years ago next year, that Patrick Moore interviewed Sir Fred Hoyle and Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe on the  hypothesis that “Life is a Cosmic Phenomenon”.

Since that time experiment after experiment, have accumulated evidence consistent with the hypothesis;  and today in 2017, Panspermia remains the “best” model for life in space.

Truly mainstream science is on a 40 year scientific journey – a  “Convergence to Panspermia” .

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2017-6-24 : To Confirm “Life on MARS” Do We Need to Put Men On Mars?

O’ the irony!

Having already spread billions of dessicated viruses and bacteria on the surface of Mars and most other local bodies, over so many missions, we now announced that:

“We may need to put men on Mars before we can really rule out life on the Red Planet once and for all”.

So man arrives on the surface of a planet or moon not as a single human entity – but as a biosystem of billions of cells, the majority of which are not human BUT viruses and bacteria.

But we will have little idea which are ours and so came with us versus which were already on Mars or Europa. Quite a quandary.

In 2017, we have only identified 10,000 viruses against millions of virus types that might exist even on earth.  Everywhere we apply the latest virus detection hardware and software we discover breakthrough virus types.

We need to accept that “Life IS a Cosmic Phenomenon”.

Once we accept microbes are everywhere,  on every body in the solar system (and maybe galaxy) we can openly start looking for more intelligent beings.  More intelligent than we humans that is.

 

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