Where did life begin?
Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe talk to BBC Astronomer Sir Patrick Moore about “Panspermia” in their book “Lifecloud”, published by Dents in 1977.
Moore discussed the Hoyle-Wickramasinghe Model of Panspermia. “If your hypothesis is correct, you are saying NOT JUST that life MAY be scattered across the universe. Life MUST be scattered across the universe”.
In 1977, 36 years before Bill Borucki‘s brilliant Kepler Mission results, Chandra Wickramasinghe hypothesizes :
- there are billions of sun-like stars in the Milky Way Galaxy
- “it would be a surprise if the galaxy was not teeming with life”
2013 : data from the Kepler Mission gives an estimate of the number of Earth-like planets in the habitable zone of sun-like stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, as 144 billion.
The Kepler Mission exoplanet counts “affected the consciousness” of mankind and especially the willingness of the world’s astrobiologists to overtly explore issues relating to extraterrestrial life.
There was a paradigm shift and suddenly “Panspermia” was mainstream science. At the 2013 SPIE conference in San Diego a paper was accepted which documented The Hoyle-Wickramasinghe Model of Panspermia, confirming this as the most likely hypothesis consistent with our overwhelming evidence that “Life is a Cosmic Phenomenon”.
In 2013 : “The impact of the Kepler mission results on exoplanet research and stellar astrophysics is illustrated by the attendance of nearly 400 scientists from 30 different countries at the Kepler Science Conference,” said William Borucki, Kepler science principal investigator at Ames. “We gather to celebrate and expand our collective success at the opening of a new era of astronomy.”
NASA has changed the “overall tag line” of their missions from “search for water” to “seeking the signs of life”.
In 2015 Dr. Chris McKay, Space Science Division, NASA Ames Research Center commented “…….panspermia is a hypothesis that must be considered”. Finally scientists are free to explore Panspermia and to seek funding for such topics as “what is life?”, “are viruses alive?”, “how should missions to places like MARS, TITAN and ENCELADUS define life?” and “what are the implications if life truly is a cosmic phenomenon?”.