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.
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 :
Notes on 2013 experiments on the the Polonnaruwa meterorite
From: Richard Hoover [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: May 21, 2013 3:32 PM
To: <email@example.com>; <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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
2014-10-15 : Just 4 days to go to Mars Obiter MAVEN turning from MARS to observe Comet Siding Spring. A short summary video is well worth watching http://youtu.be/AwMjoy_02Ic
It should be noted that unlike short-period Comets Halley and 67P/G-C (Rosetta target) which are short period Comets (75 years and 7 years respectively), Comet Siding Spring is a long-period comet – just as was Comet ISON last year. Although it is generally accepted that these long-period comets have very long orbit periods (>100,000 years) and come in from the Oort Cloud, our hypothesis includes the proposition that many such comets are effectively parabolic and are “sling shot in” towards our solar system from nearby stars.
The Hoyle-Wickramasinghe Panspermia Model of the Panspermia Hypothesis predicts that the short period comets and even some asteroids orbiting the sun are carriers of “solar system life” including the RNA/DNA that we find in within living cells in every nook and cranny of earth, and that we are now finding in the stratosphere; inside meteorites; and even outside the windows of the International Space Station. With the overwhelming dominance of viruses in our terrestrial biosphere, viruses are also most likely included in the cosmic cargo being transported in these objects. Within just a few years we expect to confirm that microbial life across the solar system, from deep under the ice and rock of Mars, to under the ice of Europa and Enceladus is largely the same – with viruses, bacteria and archaea largely “similar” as solar system life has been homogenized over the last 4.5 billion years (4.5 bya).
But what about life in other solar systems and across the galaxy? We have recently published a paper at http://www.hypothesisjournal.org which calculates the time to seed the galaxy from a single point source which was likely NOT Earth. Included in this “thought experiment”, is the assumption that “the seeds of life”, are carried from star to star by the long-period comets like ISON and SIDING SPRING.
Many years ago I concluded that “Life is a Cosmic Phenomenon”, so I wait with baited breath the results of MAVEN’s observations this coming Saturday. I have written that the inside of long-period comets should be ideal places to incubate evolving viruses and bacteria. Then again it could simply house dormant viruses or DNA pieces or even prions with no associated cells (ie no bacteria or archaea) to cause activation. Now we have a chance to point sophisticated instruments at both Mars and at this long-period comet approaching the red planet. It is for me a breath-taking moment.
In 2001 Sir Arthur C. Clarke predicted “2061 Halley’s Comet returns – first landing by humans, And the sensational discovery of both dormant and active life forms vindicates Wickramasinghe and Hoyle’s century-old hypothesis that life exists through space.”
Well, little did Sir Arthur or any of us, know just 13 years ago, that on October 19th, 2014 we would have a long-period comet (way more significant than Halley’s Comet), Comet Siding Spring, pass close to Mars just when NASA had positioned an amazing set of scientific instruments in orbit around Mars (The MAVEN Mission). These instruments will point to Comet Siding Spring in just a few days. The same experiments planned to run on the upper atmosphere of Mars, by serendipity of timing, can now be pointed and run on a long-period comet.
As we conjecture what complex molecules MAVEN might discover in Comet Siding Spring, we should recall the recent discovery by ALMA scientists of the molecule i-propyl cyanide which has a branched backbone of carbon atoms. “There seems to be quite a lot of it, which would indicate that this more complex organic structure is possibly very common, maybe even the norm, when it comes to simple organic molecules in space. It’s a step closer to discovering molecules that can be regarded as the building blocks or the precursors… of amino acids.”
The hope is that amino acids will eventually be detected outside our Solar System. “That’s what everyone would like to see,” said Prof Griffin. “If amino acids are widespread throughout the galaxy, life may be also”.
“So far we do not have the sensitivity to detect the signals from [amino acids]… in the interstellar medium,” explained Dr Belloche. “The interstellar chemistry seems to be able to form these amino acids but at the moment we lack the evidence.
After years of using remote spectroscopy looking into the Inter-Stellar Medium (ISM) from earth 27,000 light years distance, we now have an amazing close-up opportunity to analyze a Comet. On Saturday Maven will be just 132,000 km away from the COMET Siding Spring.
Prof. Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN’s Principal Investigator of CU-Boulder, CO, told Universe Today in an exclusive interview “NASA’s MAVEN Mars Orbiter is “ideally” instrumented to uniquely “map the composition of Comet Siding Spring” in great detail when it streaks past the Red Planet during an extremely close flyby on Oct. 19, 2014 – thereby providing a totally “unexpected science opportunity … and a before and after look at Mars atmosphere”
The probes state-of-the-art ultraviolet spectrograph will be the key instrument making the one-of-a-kind compositional observations of this long period “Oort cloud comet“ making its first passage through the inner solar system on its millions year orbital journey. “MAVEN’s Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph (IUVS) is the ideal way to observe the comet coma and tail,” Jakosky explained. “The IUVS can do spectroscopy that will allow derivation of compositional information.” “It will do imaging of the entire coma and tail, allowing mapping of composition.”
Conservative statement we suggest.
We see this as a “historic moment” in space exploration and the “search for life”. Perhaps even an opportunity to test one of the main propositions of Panspermia. The Hoyle-Wickramasinghe Model of Panspermia hypothesized that long period Comets are the source of life in the solar system.
Maven’s observations of Comet Siding Spring could/should deliver the evidence consistent with this hypothesis. These would be momentus results in “NASA’s Difficult Endeavour of Seeking the Signs of Life”.
If long-period Comets are the source of the “seeds of life”, then this weekend NASA’s Maven spectroscopy should detect not just the molecule i-propyl cyanide but amino acids and the molecules of RNA/DNA
Guanine (G) : C5H5N5O
Adenine (A) : C5H5N5
Thymine (T) : C5H6N2O2
Cytosine (C) : C4H5N3O
COMET Siding Spring, whose source is at least as far as the very edge of our solar system, could be the first confirmation that Comets do indeed carry the “seeds of life”. It might be a long time before we are as close again as this to an Exocomet with such an array of powerful scientific capability pointing at the Comet.
Our best wishes go out to the NASA teams of ALMA, HiRise and MAVEN, as you follow the new NASA directive to “follow the difficult endeavour of seeking the signs of life” in Comet Siding Spring.
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
July 2014 : I am sure you already know that Rosetta will be the first mission in history to rendezvous with a comet – with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P/C-G). I risk the ire of other astronomers by referring to the COMET as COMET ROSETTA only because the latest name 67P/C-G just does not capture my imagination. I think CNN and BBC need an easier name.
In July 2014, the Rosetta Mission is already approaching the Comet as it orbits the Sun. With what promises to be a stunning implementation of ESA’s daring vision, in November 2014, the mission will actually deploy a landing vehicle onto the crusted surface of the COMET.
Last year, in 2013, the whole world watched another COMET, COMET ISON. We were spell-bound as the Comet headed in towards the SUN. Through coverage by CNN and the BBC (and eventually all the world’s media) the event attracted global attention. We all recall that ISON, in the end, failed to amaze, as it was destroyed by the gravity of the Sun on Thanksgiving evening 2013.
But this time, the almost certain landing promises to deliver wonderful TV footage that the world’s media is expected to cover for many hours if not days or weeks. Rosetta will arrive at the comet in August 2014. The Philae lander itself will be finally be deployed in November 2014.
Humans have always marvelled at landings on other bodies. First there was the wonder of landing on the MOON ; then there was the thrill of MARS CURIOSITY landing on Mars. But the concept of landing on a Comet is beyond most people’s imagination. I believe it will be breathtaking television. The movie “Gravity” educated every girl and boy on the planet about the International Space Station and the challenges of orbiting the Earth
But now childrens’ minds will be expanded as they experience landing on a body which is orbiting the Sun. I promise you the build up on TV will be amazing, as first Rosetta comes very close to the comet in just a matter of weeks. We will then share the thrill of flying alongside the comet. This will continue from August until November. And then the “reality show” culminates with this most amazing landing which I predict will happen in “prime time” in the USA.
ROSETTA’s route to the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenkohas (C-G) has been a long 10 year journey. I was fortunate to be one of the original principal investigators. But I admit to great disappointment when I realized that Rosetta was not going to carry “life detection and verification” equipment. If truth be told, in those days we did not really understand the extraordinary role of viruses in the evolution of life on Earth. Symbiogenesis has revolutionized our understanding of life and it makes me even more confident that the original theories of my now passed collaborator Sir Fred Hoyle, and myself, will eventually be confirmed. Just as 2013 was the year Panspermia became mainstream science, so 2014/2015 could well be the time that we finally discover undebateable evidence that “Life is a Cosmic Phenomenon”.
So now in 2014, as the Rosetta space craft approaches the Comet 67P/CG (Churyumov-Gerasimenko), our knowledge of viruses and bacteria and especially symbiotic life, has grown substantially. We also recognize that NASA has refocused from “the search for water” to “the difficult endeavor of searching for the signs of life”. The ESA/NASA Rosetta team are guaranteed to be employing all the very latest tools we have at our disposal using remote spectroscopy by the wonderful Chile-based ALMA telescope. Will we be able to detect life or even the signs of life?
PS Assisted by my colleagues Brig Klyce and Bill Smith, this BLOG and our associated newsletter is designed to be a convenient way for the avid science reader to keep up to date with the growing evidence that “Life is a Cosmic Phenomenon”. Panspermia has entered mainstream science. Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe.
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