News Stories

Unknowncountry Weekender: Alien Life in Our Stratosphere

The search for ET just took a giant step forward, as scientists appear to have found proof to confirm the existence of extra-terrestrial life. Microscopic organisms have been discovered on a weather balloon after it was launched 27km (16.7m) into the atmosphere by Buckingham University and the University of Sheffield’s Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. The launch was intended to coincide with the recent Perseid meteor shower on 31st July this year, and the balloon was fitted with special studs designed to capture particles in the atmosphere.

This week's Dreamland takes a different look at this same issue. Don't miss it! To find out more, click here.

Researchers have identified those found as single-celled algae known as 'diatoms', and Professor Milton Wainwright, who headed the study, says he is "95 per cent convinced" the organisms do not originate from Earth as it was impossible for particles of that size to have drifted upwards from Earth unless they had been propelled into the outer atmosphere by a volcanic eruption. No volcanic events of this type had occurred within three years of the balloon launch, however, and he therefore had to conclude that the organisms had originated from space.

The scientist explained that if the particles had been terrestrial in origin, they would have been contaminated with earthly substances such as pollen, whereas some of the 'alien' particles were coated with cosmic dust and some were very clean indicating that they may have originated in an aquatic environment, the most obvious of which would be a comet. As the particles were collected during a meteor shower caused by a melting comet, this theory looks to be valid.

The findings appear to support the controversial theory that all life forms on Earth may have originated from space, perhaps being carried here by meteorites, and Professor Wainwright and his team concluded that "if life is continually arriving to Earth from space, life is not restricted to this planet and it almost certainly did not originate here".

The study, which will be published in The Journal of Cosmology, has the potential to force scientists to completely re-evaluate existing views of biology and evolution. "New textbooks may have to be written!" added Professor Wainwright.

His department will continue to carry out further tests on the samples, and it is planned to launch another balloon in similar conditions during October when the Earth will pass through a meteorite shower associated with Halley's Comet.

Certainly life forms do not have to be humanoid to be valid proof of the existence of extra-terrestrial beings, and it feels incredibly arrogant and closed-minded to deny the possibility of life forms - of any kind - in the incomprehensibly immense Universe that we exist in. In fact Professor Steven Hawking's now famous comments regarding the possibility of life elsewhere in the Universe suggested that this is a perfectly rational viewpoint. New life forms are continually being discovered on our own planet, and, having found that bacteria can survive extremes of heat and cold, and some which are dependent on rare metals for survival, scientists are constantly having to reconsider their views on the type of environments that are able to support life. Increasingly, evidence points to the fact that life forms are incredibly adaptable and therefore may yet have developed in locations previously thought to be too inhospitable to host them. Indeed, bacteria has even survived for 18months living on the outside of the NASA Space Station in the hostile conditions outside the Earth's atmosphere.

We appear to be standing on the threshold of new discoveries which could theoretically challenge everything we thought we knew about evolution and the development of life on this planet. These are exciting times indeed, and you can be sure that Unknown Country will continue bring you news from the Edge of the World, and beyond... Subscribe today!

allow me to be succinct: WOW! WOW! WOW! ps: WOW

There are 3 possible ways that life started on earth, spontaneous generation, panspermia, divine intervention, or some combination thereof. The last author of this paper, Wickramasinghe, has been testing panspermia for years, and this looks like it builds on previous work. I haven't yet read it closely. Thanks for the heads up.

To date, Wickramasinghe's findings have been mostly ignored or shot down, and I am not entirely sure why. Maybe the reasoning is something like extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, but that seems extraordinarily onerous for someone trying to scientifically study one of 3 possibilities. I've seen many arguments that the experiments were not properly conducted, but very little effort to repeat or improve the experiments.

Back to the origins of life on earth. If it was spontaneous generation, then there is no reason to suppose that we are special. Given the right conditions, then life could have started all over the universe. If panspermia is in play, then life is widespread, or at least not as rare as some would suppose. I also see no compelling reason to suppose that divine intervention, if real, was limited to earth.

However you slice it up, life here means life is likely throughout the universe wherever conditions are favorable. What those conditions are is another debate altogether. We are based in water and carbon, which Wickramasinghe tests in rationalist and materialist experiments, but other possibilities exist. As long as conscious, self propagating or reproducing things can happen, then that is what we call life. This all leads into discussions of what are life and consciousness, which I should leave be, but choose to state that my definition of consciousness is the ability to perceive and respond to external conditions. That makes everything conscious.

There is also evidence that fungal spores have extraterrestrial origin, also. Just from what we know of the vastness of the universe, to think life like on earth is unique is naive. Man seems to be doing everything he can to terminate life on earth, though. Fukushima could do it. Better to be positive.

Subscribe to Unknowncountry sign up now