2014-8-10 : LIFE AS A COSMIC PHENOMENON: THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC CONTROL OF A SCIENTIFIC PARADIGM

I have collaborated with Gensuke Tokoro of the Institute for the Study of Panspermia and Astroeconomics, Gifu, Japan to produce this paper.

A major paradigm shift with potentially profound implications has been taking place over the past 3 decades at a rapidly accelerating pace. The Copernican revolution of half a millennium ago is now being extended to place humanity on the Earth in its correct cosmic perspective – an assembly of cosmically derived viral genes, no more, no less, pieced together over 4 billion years of geological history against the processes of Darwinian natural selection. The evidence for our cosmic ancestry has now grown to the point that to deny it is a process fraught with imminent danger. We discuss the weight of modern scientific evidence from diverse sources, the history of development of the relevant ideas, and the socio-economic and historical forces that are responsible for dictating the pace of change.

Please feel free to access the full paper through this URL.

In summary we conclude : A paradigm shift of the kind we have discussed in this article may be stalled for seemingly rational reasons based on either prudence or pragmatism:

  1. The proposed paradigm shift from Earth-centred life to cosmic-centred life might be perceived as a threat to national security. People may become so scared and emotionally unsettled that even the enforcement of law and order might pose a problem.
  2. To admit that we have supported a wrong paradigm may have economic repercussions in regard to the many large funding commitments already in place for exploring ideas based on a wrong premise.
  3. An inevitable demand that would follow for re-orientation of existing space programmes would have serious fiscal implications that would need to be kept in mind.
  4. It would have to be deemed prudent to monitor the stratosphere for potentially lethal incoming pathogens, and such a world-wide programme would require large budgets as well as new strategies in world health economics.

I am planning a BLOG post in the fall which offers a positive vision for the way forward.

Results of Observations in January 2014 of a meteor shower of Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON)

From January 10-17, 2014 the Earth was calculated to be passing through the long tail of COMET ISON. This project was designed to look for meteors possibly connected to ISON. I assisted a (Ukraine + Belarus) team of astronomers to analyze data collected from analysis of 54,000 images from Belarus, Ukraine and Spain. 43 meteor phenomena were detected. The results were statistically significant and confirmed the earth did pass through the tail of ISON even though by that date, ISON had already vaporized. My role was involved in the study of the radiant (the point in the sky where meteors radiated) : i.e. to confirm this meteor radiant was consistent with NASA’s published ISON comet orbit parameters. This required a collaboration between myself and Dr. Lubos Neslusan of Slovak Academy of Science (who had written a FORTRAN app which calculates a radiant given an orbit) . We were guided by NASA/JPL Comet orbit expert Dr. Alan Chamberlin who provided the ever-changing Comet ISON orbit parameters.

The published paper is here.

Bill Smith

PS words of caution : although the paper documents what appears to be compelling results, I have recommended the team repeat the experiment next January 2015 to confirm the meteor statistics over the same period, drop back to the 2012, 2013 levels.

2014-8-8 : My Letter to the UK National Newspaper – The Independent – Rosetta hints at life on comets

(This letter appeared today in the Friday 8th August issue of The Independent, UK).

The encounter of the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has generated a wave of media excitement that is surely well justified.

However, science reporters and commentators who have described the comet as a “hurtling lump of dust and ice” have unwittingly downgraded the importance of the mission. They take no account of discoveries spanning more than three decades, indicating a large carbonaceous content of comets that gives rise to their dark, coal-like surfaces. Consistent with the theories of the late Sir Fred Hoyle and the present writer, the connection between comets, life and evolution has developed to the point that a life-detection experiment on the Rosetta lander would have been amply justified.

However, for mainly cultural reasons, such an experiment was not included in the mission, and in the event only indirect support of a comet-life connection can be expected from this mission.

The rendezvous with the comet that was achieved on 7 August 2014 has led to stunning close-up images of its surface. Rough terrain of low reflectivity appears to be interspersed with smoother areas that could represent recently exposed subsurface lakes that were laden with microbial life.

The high rate of outgasing that has been observed from early June points to the action of microbial life within such sub-surface lakes.

More evidence – albeit indirect evidence – pointing to our cosmic cometary ancestry is likely to be unravelled from experiments to be conducted in the Rosetta mission in the months that lie ahead.

Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe

University of Buckingham

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/letters/letters-rosetta-hints-at-life-on-comets-9655339.html#commentReference

2014-7-31 : Professor Chandra Delivers “RAY WIJEWARDENE 2014” Lecture

Anoma Wijewardene  thanks Chandra:  “For a scintillating, thought provoking, challenging and yet accessible to us laymen lecture. We have had enthusiastic response from all and so many are thanking us for the opportunity to hear someone they have longed to hear for years!   A great service to the Trust and the nation. We are deeply grateful” .

MTV Newsfirst provides 2 minutes of footage.

The poster for the RAY WIJEWARDENE 2014 follows.

This newspaper article from this morning’s SRI LANKAN Sunday Times by Smriti Daniel  captures the essence of Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe’s Lecture.

On 8 August 2014 02:12, Nalaka Gunawardene <alien@nalaka.org> wrote:

Dear Dr Wickramasinghe,

I’m sorry I didn’t get to meet you during the Ray Wijewardene Memorial Lecture in Colombo last week, but I enjoyed being in your packed audience.

I have just written up my impressions as part of my weekly column that appears in Ceylon Today newspaper, 8 August 2014.
Since the newspaper’s website is not well developed, and is poorly indexed, I archive my column in a dedicated blog:
http://collidecolumn.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/when-worlds-collide-116-did-we-all-come-from-outer-space/

I welcome your comments – and if you agree, would like to do an email interview that follows up on your lecture and recent biography, which I enjoyed reading.

Thanks and best,

Nalaka

……………………………………………
Nalaka Gunawardene
Science writer & communication consultant
9/3, Gemunu Mawatha, Nawala Road, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka.
T: +94 11 4412 195; F: +94 11 4403 443; E: <alien@nalaka.org>
Personal Blog: http://nalakagunawardene.com
Sunday column: http://collidecolumn.wordpress.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/NalakaG
Books: http://nalakagunawardene.com/books/
_______________________________________________________________________

Chandra  responded :

Dear Nalaka

Thank for sending me your article.  A good defense of orthodoxy!  I should comment that I never chose to be heterodox or follow the path of the maverick.  Only the facts directed me at all times!  I think that in unsolved problems in science (of which the origin of life is one) it is always the heterodox that turns out to be right,

I will be glad to give you another email interview, if you like.  I am copying this to my colleague to link your article to our website.

Best

Chandra

July 29, 2014 : ROSETTA Arrives at the COMET and the world watches on

July 29, 2014 : ROSETTA Arrives at the COMET67P –  and the world watches on. After coping for many months with the stresses of MH370, then MH17, we now have the Israel-Palestine confrontation showing the very worst of the human condition. To help us cope with these horrors, the world’s media did bring us the 2014 Brazil Soccer World Cup. It was an event which brought much needed joy to the world’s population. The good news is that we now have another global (or should I say Cosmic) event which is guaranteed to bring much needed joy.

So it is with optimism that we greet the arrival of the Rosetta Mission at COMET 67P.

This BLOG entry is addressed to the program planners at the BBC and CNN (et al) even at GOOGLE who did such a fine job covering COMET ISON’s perihelion disintegration event on Thanksgiving Eve last November 2013.

Lets re-explain how the Rosetta Mission has been journeying for 10 years. Wikipedia summarizes it well.  It finally arrives this month (August 2014). It is currently slowly pulling up alongside the Comet 67P – approaching kilometer by kilometer finally arriving next Wednesday August 6th. The best way to follow the arrival is on Twitter. There you will get daily links to news and current images.
You will recall TV coverage of ISON last October and November was substantial. CNN and the BBC realized that this was a compelling story and even though the COMET pretty much disintegrated in time for USA Thanksgiving Dinner, fortunately the Europeans continued to observe and as the Yanks were eating their turkey, the world watched something slowly reappear around from the back of the SUN. Awesome was the only word to describe that evening.

Well we are all expecting the excitement of Rosetta’s landing on the COMET 67P to be even more breathtaking. Of course people like myself are wondering if we will be able to detect “signs of life” once we are on the surface. But to the children of the world, the excitement will be landing on this massive asteroid orbiting the SUN.
Adults usually explain to their children how exciting it was when Man landed on the MOON in 1969. But to today’s young people, now used to robots, drones and virtual reality, this “experience” will be compelling. They will easily be able to feel they are actually inside the Philae Lander Craft.

It will be the actual landing and exploration of the surface of the comet which will hold the world spell-bound in November 2014. But as build up to this event, the next 3 months, especially the next 4 weeks, CNN and BBC can be expected to bring the world’s best TV Science Communicators to your TV screens to explain what is happening and to share the wonder.

 

2014-7-14 : Panspermia Evidence Summary 2014-4-1 -> 2014-6-30

The Last Six Months Developments as a Summary Hot List

April 1, 2014 – June 30, 2014 Here is my latest summary list of the items from the last three months on the http://panspermia.org website that we recommend you check out :

Best wishes

Professor Brig Klyce

Honorary Associate Professor, Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology

http://www.panspermia.org

2014-7-14 : Rosetta Mission Approaches COMET 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P/C-G

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?

I am pleased to share my predictions with you, and have written a short paper for your enjoyment and understanding.  The paper is adapted from a review invited by the open access journal The Journal of Astrobiology and Outreach (JAO).

May your life too be a Cosmic Phenomenon

Prof. Chandra Wickramasinghe
http://sci.esa.int/rosetta/

 

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.

2014-7-14 : This New Quarterly Email Newsletter

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. 

Last year we created a base paper summarizing the Panspemia Hypothesis in 2013.

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

We ask you to go to my website and opt-in to our subscriber database : you will see the “subscribe” menu item at http://profchandra.org/subscribe-newsletter/

Life is a Cosmic Phenomenon

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