All posts by Chandra Wickramasinghe

Nalin Chandra Wickramasinghe (born 20 January 1939) is a Sri Lankan-born British mathematician, astronomer and astrobiologist. He is currently Professor and Director of the Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology at the University of Buckingham, a post he has held since 2011. Chandra Wickramasinghe has written 24 books about astrophysics and related topics; he has made frequent appearances on radio, television and film, and he writes extensive online blogs and articles.

2020-3-26 : Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe PREDICTS Space VIRUS Cloud in November 2019

Chandra Wickramasinghe
Wed 2020-03-25 9:13 AM

Space weather and pandemic warnings?

Exclusive Q&A with Wickramasinghe:

Wickramasinghe, Steele, Gorczynski et al 2020 Virology Current Research (4:1)

Growing Evidence against Global Infection-Driven by Person-to-Person Transfer of COVID-19

Wickramasinghe, Steele, Gorczynski et al 2020 Virology Current Research (4:1)

Comments on the Origin and Spread of the 2019 Coronavirus:

Wickramasinghe, Steele, Gorczynski et al 2020 Virology Current Research (4:2)

On the Fragility of Empires and Paradigms

Wickramasinghe, Steele, Gorczynski et al 2020 Virology Current Research (4:2)

Predicting the Future Trajectory of COVID-19

All the best


Falling Comet seen over northeast China

2019-10-11: Comet seen over northeast China

A suspected falling meteorite was caught on tape in many places in northeast China on October 11. The suspected meteorite fell in just a few seconds and illuminated the night sky:


December 31, 2019

Opportunity to evaluate an AI Tool : The Blue Dot Algorithm.

January 9, 2020

On January 9, the World Health Organization notified the public of a flu-like outbreak in China: a cluster of pneumonia cases had been reported in Wuhan, possibly from vendors’ exposure to live animals at the Huanan Seafood Market. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had gotten the word out a few days earlier, on January 6.

But a Canadian health monitoring platform, the Blue Dot, had beaten them both to the punch, sending word of the outbreak to its customers on December 31, 2019.

An AI Epidemiologist Sent the First Warnings of the Wuhan Virus

Diseases from Space

February 12, 2020 :

Note : News from ISS

Herpes viruses reactivated

“The herpes viruses were reactivated in more than half of the crew aboard Space Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) missions.

“NASA astronauts endure weeks or even months exposed to microgravity and cosmic radiation – not to mention the extreme G forces of take-off and re-entry,” said senior author Dr. Satish K. Mehta of KBR Wyle at the Johnson Space Center.

“This physical challenge is compounded by more familiar stressors like social separation, confinement and an altered sleep-wake cycle.”

Mehta and colleagues monitor the physiological impact of spaceflight by analyzing saliva, blood and urine samples from the astronauts. What they found was problematic.

“During spaceflight there is a rise in secretion of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which are known to suppress the immune system. In keeping with this, we find that astronaut’s immune cells – particularly those that normally suppress and eliminate viruses – become less effective during spaceflight and sometimes for up to 60 days after.”

These circumstances could be further compounded by the stressful environment the astronauts find themselves in.

“To date, 47 out of 89 (53%) astronauts on short space shuttle flights, and 14 out of 23 (61%) on longer ISS missions shed herpes viruses in their saliva or urine samples,” reported Mehta.

“These frequencies – as well as the quantity – of viral shedding are markedly higher than in samples from before or after flight, or from matched healthy controls.”

2019-9-11 : Water Vapor on the Habitable-Zone Exoplanet K2-18b

“Ever since the discovery of the first exoplanet, astronomers have made steady progress towards finding and probing planets in the habitable zone of their host stars, where the conditions could be right for liquid water to form and life to sprawl. Results from the Kepler mission indicate that the occurrence rate of habitable-zone Earths and super-Earths may be as high as 5–20%. Despite this abundance, probing the conditions and atmospheric properties on any of these habitable-zone planets is extremely difficult and has remained elusive to date. Here, we report the detection of water vapor and the likely presence of liquid water clouds in the atmosphere of the 8.6 M⊕ habitable-zone planet K2-18b”.


2019-9-9 : A VIDEO tribute to Sir Fred Hoyle – one of the outstanding astrophysicists of all time

Sir Fred Hoyle was one of the outstanding astrophysicists of all time. He was the pioneer scientist to initiate the concept of Stellar Nucleosynthesis. He was known for many controversial theories such as Steady-State theory, Quasi Steady-State theory, Panspermia, Molecular Cloud etc.
Later, many of his theories were accepted by a major part of the scientific community among which Panspermia and Molecular Cloud are the most popular ones.
Science Media Centre, IISER Pune has produced this documentary based on Sir Fred Hoyle’s life and work as a tribute to his enormous contribution to cosmology.
Credit: Some of the photographs used in this video were captured by Prof. Chandra Wickramasinghe and his family (one in the Lake District, walking in Sri Lanka, at the blackboard etc). Science Media Centre, IISER Pune
The full documentary :

2019-1-18 : Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe to open Observatory – Robert Hooke Centre – Westminster School London – January 18, 2019

Robert Hooke –

I thought my subscribers would like to know that I have been invited to open the new Observatory and Telescope at the Robert Hooke Centre at Westminster School London on 18th January 2019 with an address “Interstellar Spectroscopy and the Dawn of a New Paradigm”

Westminster School London was founded in 1600 during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and is arguably the most famous in the Western world.  It was founded during the lifetime of Galileo and counts among its past pupils John Locke and Hooke amongst others!

All the best for 2019


Prof. Chandra Wickramasinghe

Honorary Professor University of Buckingham, Buckingham, UK
Honorary Professor University of Ruhuna, Matara, Sri Lanka
Honorary Professor Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Sri Lanka

PS it is my 80th Birthday – what an honour.

2018-6-7 : But Wait! We’ve already Found Life on Mars!

The full length talk of Dr. Gilbert Levin, lead team member Viking LR 1976 as he discusses how we’ve already detected life on Mars with his experiment. Presented by Exolance an Explore Mars project.

What Has NASA Found On Mars? Space Agency To Make A Major Announcement On Thursday  June 7, 2018 About Life On The Red Planet


But could this be true and is Thursday the day? @lesliekean #LENR @RealDonaldTrump



2018-6-4 : Cosmic Biology in Perspective

A series of astronomical observations obtained over the period 1986 to 2018 supports the idea that life is a cosmic rather than a purely terrestrial or planetary phenomenon. These include (1) the detection of biologically relevant molecules in interstellar clouds and in comets, (2) mid-infrared spectra of inter-stellar grains and the dust from comets, (3) a diverse set of data from comets including the Rosetta mission showing consistency with biology and (4) the frequency of Earth-like or habitable planets in the Galaxy. We argue that the conjunction of all the available data suggests the operation of cometary biology and interstellar panspermia rather than the much weaker hypothesis of comets being only the source of the chemical building blocks of life. We conclude with specific  predictions on the properties expected of extra-terrestrial life if it is discovered on Enceladus, Europa or beyond. A radically different
biochemistry elsewhere can be considered as a falsification of the theory of interstellar 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).


The first proposal of life being a cosmic phenomenon was made nearly 4 decades ago by myself, Chandra Wickramasinghe, and the late Sir Fred Hoyle.

As might have been expected the idea was controversial and bitterly contested at the time. However, in the intervening years a raft of evidence from astronomy, biology, and geology have all converged to support the Hoyle-Wickramasinghe (H-W) thesis of Cometary (Cosmic) Biology and cometary panspermia.

Comets are the carriers and distributors of life in the cosmos and life on Earth arose and developed as a result of cometary inputs. Much of the physical and biological evidence for this point of view is multifactorial, and despite a continuing controversy, the trend of the data has been to consistently support the H-W thesis. In contrast, despite much effort and expense, little or no evidence has been discovered to support the standard theory that life originated in a purely Earth-based primordial soup.

A comprehensive review paper by over 30 international scientists, including Chandra Wickramasinghe and Edward Steele, now published in Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, presents the strongest evidence to date to support the case that life on Earth has cosmic origins.

One particular focus of the new paper is on the recent studies which date the emergence of the complex “retroviruses of vertebrate lines” at or just before the Cambrian Explosion of ~ 500 Ma. Such viruses are known to be plausibly associated with major evolutionary genomic processes.

The many scientists authoring the paper believe this coincidence is not fortuitous but is consistent with a key prediction of H-W theory whereby major extinction-diversification evolutionary boundaries coincide with virus-bearing cometary-bolide bombardment events. A second focus is the remarkable evolution of intelligent complexity (Cephalopods) culminating in the emergence of the Octopus. A third focus concerns the microorganism fossil evidence contained within meteorites as well as the detection in the upper atmosphere of apparent incoming life-bearing particles from space, most recently from a height of 400km. The conclusion is that the totality of available data,combined with critical analyses assembled by Fred Hoyle, Chandra Wickramasinghe and their many colleagues since the 1960s, leads to a very plausible and unique conclusion –life was seeded on Earth by life-bearing comets as soon as conditions on Earth allowed it to flourish (about or just before 4.1 Billion years ago); and living organisms such as space-resistant and space-hardy bacteria, viruses, more complex eukaryotic cells, fertilised ova and seeds have been continuously delivered ever since to Earth so being one important driver of further terrestrial evolution which has resulted in considerable genetic diversity and which has led to the emergence of mankind.

Some biologists, who do not like this trend,have argued that the case for cosmic life in their view is still not compelling enough to abandon the standard Earth-centred theories. The authors of the new review paper reply with the following statement:“Within an individual scientist a paradigm shift occurs in two stages:

(1). An instant personal decision to embrace the new global way of understanding reality. This happens within a blink of an eye, as in a Gestalt shift made famous by Thomas Kuhn. The individual confronting the data compares the available evidence for and against -a piece of evidence clicks into place which only makes sense under the new alternative paradigm, and is quite nonsensical under the old way of understanding the world.

(2). This personal decision can then move into the public domain but there are many inhibitory processes as the scholar and scientist has to weigh up the socio-political costs, such as:

  • How will this affect my relationships with colleagues?
  • How will this affect my prospects for promotion?
  • How will this affect my future prospects for research funding? etc.

The more fundamental the shift the deeper is the problem for successfully moving to stage (2). However these shifts do happen regularly in Science and are largely accrued community decisions over time.The authors conclude with the assertion that the battle between rival paradigms on the origin and further evolution of life on Earth is underway and they look forward to more scientists engaging in it. The intellectual shift in the population of scientists to the cosmic perspective will, of course, be protracted particularly in the messy final stages – for example as occurred in the first Copernican revolution – which are likely to continue for some time. Thus to directly quote Kuhn: ……The state of Ptolemaic (Earth-centred) astronomy was a scandal before Copernicus’ announcement. Given a particular discrepancy, astronomers were invariably able to eliminate it by making some particular adjustment in Ptolemy’s system of compounded circles. But as time went on, a man looking at the net result of the normal research effort of many astronomers could observe that astronomy’s complexity was increasing far more rapidly than its accuracy and that a discrepancy corrected in one place was likely to show up in another(Kuhn 1969).

The paper by Steele et al is linked to here.