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Thread: Life - out there....

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    Default Life - out there....

    Arsenic Life Is Nice; Living Clouds Are Nicer


    04:36 pm
    December 3, 2010



    by Robert Krulwich



    Ok, now we have arsenic life. But here's a much wilder thought: How about living clouds?
    Sean Heavey/The 2010 National Geographic Photography Contest A supercell thunderstorm rolls across the Montana prairie at sunset.




    I assume you've read the news. To life as we know it, with carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, sulfur and phosphorous, we can now add life with arsenic. Dr. Felisa Wolfe-Simon fed a little bacterium daily doses of the dread element, and the little guy slurped it up, chucked most of its phosphorous, and became an arsenic-creature. "It's a really nice story about adaptability of our life form," chemist Gerald Joyce told the New York Times, "It gives food for thought about what might be possible in another world."


    Well, here's one possibility. The otherwise sane and respected astrobiologist David Grinspoon has been considering that under the right circumstances, clouds could become living things. With intelligence, even. Carl Sagan thought so, too.


    NASA/ESA/JPL/Arizona State Univ.

    We think the Crab Nebula looks super intelligent.




    A living thing, it is thought, needs to feed, grow, copy and evolve and persist. It needs some kind of shape. Clouds can do all that, says David Grinspoon. Though they look hazy and random here on Earth, they contain levels of order, they hold themselves together, they move around, they have routines. They can, in theory, produce increasingly complex forms of themselves.


    Says Grinspoon:
    Stuart Kauffman talks about life in an abstract sense as a system that uses energy and builds complexity out of flows and gradients of energy and matter resulting in something that self replicates, so Darwinian evolution can take over.


    If you look at that as an abstract idea of what you need – constant flows of energy and nutrients to provide templating building blocks — then you ask, "What kind of environment provides those sources of energy that facilitate complexity?"
    Imagine a cloud of stellar dust several light years across quietly drifting through space. Powered by its own bursting stars feeding it oxygen, carbon, life-giving chemistries, could it not become a slightly lonely but vastly oversized life form? An enormous space traveler?


    NASA

    Galactic Drifter: a star-forming region in the Carina Nebula.


    About 50 years ago, the astronomer Fred Hoyle wrote a science fiction book called The Black Cloud, in which a huge interstellar cloud becomes a thinking being. It uses gravity as its container.


    Astronomer Chris Impey says that little kids who read Hoyle's book – and lots of them did — are now grownups. They have put his fanciful notions into equations and, alas, the idea doesn't quite work:
    Unfortunately, in real life the density of interstellar gas is so low that interactions would take place hundreds or thousand of times slower than that in a liquid medium on Earth. Hoyle's idea is implausible, but it's hard to rule out.
    But what about a local cloud? One, say, on Jupiter or Venus?
    Grinspoon says when our probe landed on Venus, the place looked dead. We saw no signs of life.
    But we overreacted. There can't be life as we know it on the surface of Venus, but there is the possibility of life in the clouds of Venus — they're within the right temperature range for life as we know it, and they are in a continuous, dynamic environment, one with a lot of interesting energy sources and a certain amount of chemical equilibrium in the atmosphere that has not yet been well explained.
    Maybe Jupiter?
    Grinspoon's mentor and friend Carl Sagan thought that Jupiter could have buoyant creatures floating in its clouds. He called them "floaters" and "sinkers," and he and another scientist made up an imaginary world of Jovian clouds hanging out together. So far, no one has detected clouds on Jupiter humming to each other, but cloud life isn't the only idea being explored. Astrobiologists are thinking about self-organizing electric fields and magnetic fields (whatever they are). But far from the lab I bumped into a group of weavers who've been knitting neurons in wool…


    Gabrielle Theriault

    A hand-knit neuron, the perfect gift for your favorite neuroscientist.


    I don't think these "brain cells" are even remotely alive – though they are gorgeous — but as Chris Impey says: "The possibilities may simply be limited by our imaginations."



    David Grinspoon is Curator of Astrobiology at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and an Adjunct Professor of Astrophysical and Planetary Science at the University of Colorado. He was interviewed by astronomer Chris Impey. The interview appears in Impey's new book "Talking About Life, Conversations on Astrobiology"(Cambridge University Press, 2010). Living Clouds are also discussed in Impey's book "The Living Cosmos" (Random House, 2007), and while I am blushing as I say this, Radiolab was thinking about arsenic and life a year ago. The first cloud photo is a submission from National Geographic's 2010 photo contest. Check out their Web site to see other 2010 submissions, vote on your favorites and see past winners.
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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    There's no life as WE know it there.

    The clouds have an overpressure of aroun 94 Bars. (1 Bar = Earth's airpressure at sea level). We measure atmospheric pressures here in millibars (or inches of mercury), typically at my house my barometer says something between 29.5 and 30.8 inches of mercury, and I live at high altitude (6800 feet above sea level).

    The temperature is 740 Kelvin. Converted, thats about 468 C and 873 F.

    Most of the atmosphere is made up of sulphuric acid.

    So you have VERY high temperatures, air pressure that is 94 times that of Earth, and everything blowing around there is acid.

    Anything in the way of "proteins" would be completely catalyzed in a matter of seconds.

    So IF there were life there it wouldn't be ANYTHING like we "know".
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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    Sure it is better to have a warm/hot climate.

    But... at 800+ F meat burns. Meat is proteins. People and critters are made of meat on this planet, even if they are single cellular critters like ameboeas, parameciums or euglenas....

    Scorpions (on this planet) are meat too. Like grasshoppers or spiders.

    Of course I think spiders are aliens myself......
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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    Research on our own planet has surprised researchers as some low forms of biology can thrive in extreme heat and sulfur as in from a volcanic vent.

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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    Quote Originally Posted by Peterle Matteo View Post
    Seriously;

    It is easier to have life where it is hot than where it is cold.

    I am not implying something but i am open mind as usual.

    Don't get me wrong here, Peterle, I have an open mind about this as well.

    In fact, I'd almost bet MONEY on the fact there IS life on Mars and we will find it. It will like be microbial but life, never the less.

    My belief, theory, whatever you want to call it is that "Panspermia" is the device through which life is spread from planet to planet through out the universe.

    I think the building blocks were created when stars were created, gaseous clouds with the proper chemicals collected into heavier balls of matter and eventually became part of other masses, like rocks.

    Comets bombarded our planet (and others in our own solar system) for millions of years delivering water, other minerals, gases, chemicals and compounds. Eventually something had to "grow" out of the mess.

    I suspect Mars was once not as lifeless as it appears now. In fact, I'm of a belief that Mars is actually a MOON of a now non-existent planet. The planet's remains orbit a bit further out between Mars and Jupiter.

    So I think even the Moon has or had life on it at one time.

    Doesn't mean we need water for life.

    Doesn't mean we need heat.

    Proof of this can be found in several places (as the Russians pointed out) in the very hot underwater calderas with all sorts of things living nearby (but not necessarily IN) the heat.

    If I'm not mistaken they have found microbes living in deep, dark places where nothing ought to be living at ALL. It just goes to prove that life starts easily (or perhaps God put it there? Who knows) but it doesn't DIE easily either!

    We still have dinosaurs on this planet.

    They are called "crockadiles" and "sharks" and bacteria that existed as far back and 600,000 years ago:

    Photo: BioPediaSiberian Actinobacteria - 400,000 to 600,000 years old

    There's also the Horseshoe Crab which has been found in fossils from the Ordovician period.

    So - I don't think that life out there doesn't exist at ALL, I think it exists in abundance.

    I'm merely saying that "life as WE know it" - that is life based on Carbon, like us, and every other critter on this planet with the noted exception of certain types of bacteria - the "arsenic based" ones, some marine alges use aresnic as well, and viruses - which technically aren't life forms anyway.

    I guess we might actually overlook or not recognize something that is a non-carbon based creature because we wouldn't know what we were looking at.

    Sagan, among others, postulated there might be strange creatures like floating airbags in the atmosphere of Jupiter. Something like giant "blimps" - and likely there would some kind of flying predator that might swoop in and kill the "cow" type creatures who were just big, slow and floating airbags....

    Anyway - life exists out there. No DOUBT in my mind. Just not carbon based scorpions on Venus. (I'd say Mars has a GOOD chance of something like that, but certainly NOT Venus).
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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    Here's an older article I had read, oh, several years back. It's one piece of several, but it kind of gives you an idea of what Hawking thinks:

    [quote]
    July 27, 2009

    Stephen Hawking on the Possibility of Non-Carbon-Based Extraterrestrial Life

    On the 50th anniversary of NASA, Stephen Hawking, Newton's heir as the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, was asked the question, “Are we alone?”

    His answer was short and simple; "probably not."
    Hawking outlined three possibilities. One, being that there is no life out there, and two – somewhat pessimistically, that when intelligent life gets smart enough to send signals in to space, it is also busying itself with stockpiling nuclear bombs.



    Hawking, known not only for his sharp mind, but his also for his biting sense of humor, prefers option number three. "Primitive life is very common and intelligent life is fairly rare," he quickly added: "Some would say it has yet to occur on earth."
    We should be careful if we ever happen upon extraterrestrial life, Hawking warns. Alien life may not have DNA like ours: "Watch out if you would meet an alien. You could be infected with a disease with which you have no resistance."
    What we normally think of as 'life' is based on chains of carbon atoms, with a few other atoms, such as nitrogen or phosphorous, Hawking observed in his lecture, Life in the Universe. We can imagine that one might have life with some other chemical basis, such as silicon, "but carbon seems the most favorable case, because it has the richest chemistry."

    The Earth was formed largely out of the heavier elements, including carbon and oxygen. Somehow, Hawking observes, "some of these atoms came to be arranged in the form of molecules of DNA. One possibility is that the formation of something like DNA, which could reproduce itself, is extremely unlikely. However, in a universe with a very large, or infinite, number of stars, one would expect it to occur in a few stellar systems, but they would be very widely separated."
    Other prominent scientists have warned that we humans may be blinded by our familiarity with carbon and Earth-like conditions. In other words, what we’re looking for may not even lie in our version of a “sweet spot”. After all, even here on Earth, one species “sweet spot” is another species worst nightmare. In any case, it is not beyond the realm of feasibility that our first encounter with extraterrestrial life will not be a solely carbon-based fete.

    Alternative biochemists speculate that there are several atoms and solvents that could potentially spawn life. Because carbon has worked for the conditions on Earth, we speculate that the same must be true throughout the universe. In reality, there are many elements that could potentially do the trick. Even counter-intuitive elements such as arsenic may be capable of supporting life under the right conditions. Even on Earth some marine algae incorporate arsenic into complex organic molecules such as arsenosugars and arsenobetaines.
    Several other small life forms use arsenic to generate energy and facilitate growth. Chlorine and sulfur are also possible elemental replacements for carbon. Sulfur is capably of forming long-chain molecules like carbon. Some terrestrial bacteria have already been discovered to survive on sulfur rather than oxygen, by reducing sulfur to hydrogen sulfide.

    Nitrogen and phosphorus could also potentially form biochemical molecules. Phosphorus is similar to carbon in that it can form long chain molecules on its own, which would conceivably allow for formation of complex macromolecules. When combined with nitrogen, it can create quite a wide range of molecules, including rings.

    So what about water? Isn’t at least water essential to life?
    Not necessarily. Ammonia, for example, has many of the same properties as water. An ammonia or ammonia-water mixture stays liquid at much colder temperatures than plain water. Such biochemistries may exist outside the conventional water-based "habitability zone". One example of such a location would be right here in our own solar system on Saturn's largest moon Titan.

    Hydrogen fluoride methanol, hydrogen sulfide, hydrogen chloride, and formamide have all been suggested as suitable solvents that could theoretically support alternative biochemistry. All of these “water replacements” have pros and cons when considered in our terrestrial environment. What needs to be considered is that with a radically different environment, comes radically different reactions. Water and carbon might be the very last things capable of supporting life in some extreme planetary conditions.
    Posted by Casey Kazan with Rebecca Sato.
    This is the fourth and final post in a four-part series on Stephen Hawking's views on life in the universe.
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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    And of course, there's this about "arsenic based" life forms....

    How does an arsenic-based life-form work, exactly?

    Scientists have apparently discovered a type of bacteria that, unlike every other known form of life, uses arsenic instead of phosphorus as one of the basic components of its DNA molecules.


    By Henry Bortman, Astrobiology Magazine / December 2, 2010




    In Mono Lake, Calif., astrobiologist Felisa Wolfe-Simon has discovered an organism that can utilize arsenic instead of phosphorus, a discovery that could upend our conceptions about the basic building blocks of life.
    Newscom/File

    Enlarge








    One of the basic assumptions about life on Earth may be due for a revision. Scientists have discovered a type of bacteria that thrives on poisonous arsenic, potentially opening up a new pathway for life on Earth and other planets.


    Topics



    If you thumb through an introductory biology textbook, you'll notice that six elements dominate the chemistry of life. Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen are the most common. After that comes phosphorus, then sulfur. Most biologists will tell you that these six elements are essential; life as we know it cannot exist without them.
    The recent discovery by Felisa Wolfe-Simon of an organism that can utilize arsenic in place of phosphorus, however, has demonstrated that life is still capable of surprising us in fundamental ways. The results of her research will appear in Dec. 2 issue of the journalScience. [Photo of the arsenic-friendly bacteria]
    IN PICTURES: Famous aliens

    The organism in question is a bacterium, GFAJ-1, cultured by Wolfe-Simon from sediments she and her colleagues collected along the shore of Mono Lake, Calif. Mono Lake is hypersaline and highly alkaline. It also has one of the highest natural concentrations of arsenic in the world.
    Life-form's toxic food
    On the tree of life, according to the results of 16S rRNA sequencing, the rod-shaped GFAJ-1 nestles in among other salt-loving bacteria in the genus Halomonas. Many of these bacteria are known to be able to tolerate high levels of arsenic.
    But Wolfe-Simon found that GFAJ-1 can go a step further. When starved of phosphorus, it can instead incorporate arsenic into its DNA, and continue growing as though nothing remarkable had happened.
    "So far we've showed that it can do it in DNA, but it looks like it can do it in a whole lot of other biomolecules" as well, says Wolfe-Simon, a NASA research fellow in residence at the USGS in Menlo Park, California.
    "It is the first time in the history of biology that there's been anything found that can use one of the different elements in the basic structure," says Paul Davies, the director of BEYOND: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.
    Wolfe-Simon's finding "can only reinforce people's belief that life can exist under a much wider range of environments than hitherto believed," Davies said. He sees the discovery of GFAF-1 as "the beginning of what promises to be a whole new field of microbiology."
    Michael New, NASA's astrobiology discipline scientist, agrees.
    "The discovery of an organism that can use arsenic to build its cellular components may indicate that life can form in the absence of large amounts of available phosphorous, thus increasing the probability of finding life elsewhere," he said. "This finding expands our understanding of the conditions under which life can thrive, and possibly originate, thereby increasing our understanding of the distribution of life on Earth and the potential habitats for life elsewhere in the solar system."
    In case you're not impressed yet, here's a quick refresher:
    The DNA molecule is shaped like a spiral ladder. The "rungs" of the ladder are comprised of pairs of nucleotides, which spell out the genetic instructions of life. The sides of the DNA ladder, referred to as its backbone, are long chains of alternating sugar and phosphate molecules. A phosphate molecule contains five atoms: one of phosphorus, four of oxygen. No phosphorus, no phosphate. No phosphate, no backbone. No backbone, no DNA. No DNA, no life.
    GFAJ-1 apparently didn't read the manual.
    When Wolfe-Simon starved GFAJ-1 cells of phosphorus, while flooding them with arsenic, far more than enough arsenic to kill most other organisms, it grew and divided as though it had been offered its favorite snack.
    Arsenic-loving bacteria
    Wolfe-Simon, with assistance from colleagues in Ron Oremland's group at the USGS in Menlo Park, California, has grown generation after generation of these bacteria. [The Weirdest Life on Earth]
    The bacteria continue to swim around in their test tubes, unconcerned, despite the fact that, since Wolfe-Simon first collected them more than a year ago, the only phosphorus they have had access to was whatever was present in the original colony of cells, plus tiny traces, far too little to sustain ongoing growth and cell division, present as impurities in the cells' growth medium.
    And you thought arsenic was poison, right? To most living organisms, it is. Arsenic is chemically similar to phosphorus, so it can sneak its way into living cells, as if wearing a disguise. But it is more reactive than phosphorus, in ways that tend to rip apart life's essential molecules. DNA, for example.
    Somehow, GFAJ-1 appears to have found a way to overcome this problem.
    As a control, a second culture of GFAJ-1 cells was fed phosphorus instead of arsenic. They, too, grew and divided. GFAJ-1 seems able to switch back and forth, depending on how much phosphorus is available.
    "I have no idea how they're doing what they're doing," Wolfe-Simon says.
    Once she realized that GFAJ-1 was capable of growing when starved of phosphorus, Wolfe-Simon set about finding out in more detail what was going on inside its cells. Could it be, perhaps, that she had found a microbe that, rather than incorporating arsenic into its biological structures, was instead exceptionally good at recycling extremely limited amounts of phosphorus?
    DNA holds the key
    Wolfe-Simon and her colleagues used several different experimental techniques to find an answer.
    Data produced by mass-spectrometry methods known as ICP-MS and NanoSIMS, showing the distribution of various chemical elements within GFAJ-1 cells, revealed a clear difference between cells grown with arsenic and those grown with phosphorus. Those grown with arsenic were loaded with the stuff, but contained very little phosphorus. In cells grown with phosphorus, the opposite was true.
    By introducing radioactive arsenic into the growth medium of some of the microbes, Wolfe-Simon learned that about one-tenth of the arsenic absorbed by the bacteria ended up in their nucleic acids.
    To confirm that this arsenic was being incorporated into DNA, she used a well-accepted molecular biology technique known as gel purified DNA extraction to isolate and concentrate DNA from GFAJ-1 cells.
    The value of this technique is that it ensures that no other material from the cell comes along for the ride. NanoSIMS measurement of these concentrated DNA extractions showed that arsenic was indeed present in their DNA.
    Still further evidence came from the use of a technique known as micro extended X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy (µEXAFS). µEXAFS can provide information about the structure of molecules by probing how its internal chemical bonds respond when stimulated by a beam of light.
    Within the DNA extracted from GFAJ-1 cells starved of phosphorus, it showed arsenic bonded to oxygen and carbon in the same way phosphorus bonds to oxygen and carbon in normal DNA.
    In other words, every experiment Wolfe-Simon performed pointed to the same conclusion: GFAJ-1 can substitute arsenic for phosphorus in its DNA.
    "I really have no idea what another explanation would be," Wolfe-Simon said.
    Skepticism over discovery
    But Steven Benner, a distinguished fellow at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution in Gainesville, Fla., remains skeptical.
    If you "replace all the phosphates by arsenates," in the backbone of DNA, he said, "every bond in that chain is going to hydrolyze [react with water and fall apart] with a half-life on the order of minutes, say 10 minutes."
    So "if there is an arsenate equivalent of DNA in that bug, it has to be seriously stabilized" by some as-yet-unknown mechanism, Benner said.
    Benner suggests that perhaps the trace contaminants in the growth medium Wolf-Simon uses in her lab cultures are sufficient to supply the phosphorus needed for the cells' DNA. He thinks it's more likely that arsenic is being used elsewhere in the cells, in lipids for example.
    "Arsenate in lipids would be stable," said Benner, and would "not fall apart in water." What appears in Wolfe-Simon's gel-purified extraction to be arsenate DNA, he added, may actually be DNA containing a standard phosphate-based backbone, but with arsenate associated with it in some unidentified way.
    The discovery of GFAJ-1's unusual abilities suggests a number of avenues for further research. One obvious one is to see whether any other organisms can perform similar biochemical tricks.
    Wolfe-Simon "would be very unlikely to have just found the only arsenic life-form on Earth on the first try. So it's got to be the tip of a very large iceberg," Davies said.
    And indeed, Wolfe-Simon said she is already growing "14 or so other isolates" from Mono Lake on a phosphorus-free diet high in arsenic. They may be the same organism she's already identified, they may not. "I don't know anything else about them, except that they grow under similar conditions."
    Meanwhile, Wolfe-Simon has ordered stock cultures of several previously identified Halomonas organisms, close relatives of GFAJ-1 on the genetic tree, all known to be arsenic-tolerant. She plans to test whether they, too, can survive in a phosphorus-free environment.
    She's also interested in finding out whether GFAJ-1 is actively employing its arsenic-incorporating ability in its natural state. "You want to know, is this biology being done in the environment or is it some very bizarre thing, like a hat trick [that it does only] in the lab."
    And Davies suggests it would be interesting to search in "an environment that has very little phosphorus and lots of arsenic" for an organism that requires arsenic to survive, "for which phosphorus would be the poison." Mono Lake, he pointed out, "has phosphorus as well arsenic."
    These and other investigations will help to clarify how extensive a role arsenic plays both within GFAJ-1 and in terrestrial biology as a whole.
    But while some scientists may reserve final judgment about Wolfe-Simon's conclusions until further details can be clarified, even Benner concedes that "If that organism has arsenate DNA, that is a world-class discovery."
    Wolfe-Simon's research is funded by the NASA Exobiology/Evolutionary Biology program.
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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    "Arsenate in lipids would be stable," said Benner, and would "not fall apart in water." What appears in Wolfe-Simon's gel-purified extraction to be arsenate DNA, he added, may actually be DNA containing a standard phosphate-based backbone, but with arsenate associated with it in some unidentified way.
    But while some scientists may reserve final judgment about Wolfe-Simon's conclusions until further details can be clarified, even Benner concedes that "If that organism has arsenate DNA, that is a world-class discovery."
    MY question is, how do we know this ISN'T an alien lifeform? Where did it come from originally? It's certainly different from all other forms of life on Earth and actually seems to have DNA that isn't using the same chemical formula as carbon-based DNA.

    So.... "discovered"? Perhaps "It" discovered US?
    Last edited by American Patriot; January 26th, 2012 at 21:25.
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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    Well, Venus has a lot of nitrogen, like Earth... but the pressure is a lot heavier than Earth ever was probably. In fact, the atmosphere got thicker as it cooled.

    Venus isn't really cooling much, too close to the sun I think.

    And the atmospheric pressure as it is today would never have been the same as Earth. There's a LOT more CO2 there, Nitrogen than ever was on Earth.

    Of course all this is pretty much conjecture - we're guessing about it. Most astronomers think that Earth was similar to Venus now - just not as deadly to our type of DNA.

    DNA is composed of long strands of chemical compounds ( don't ask me to tell you, I can't remember that stuff nowadays, or even how to spell DNA - deoxyribonucleic acid or whatever. LOL)

    Anyway, two long strands are wrapped in a double helix (around each other) and they are connected together with (if I recall) nucleotides - more chemicals.

    Some of that stuff is what proteins are created from.

    I guess where I am trying to go with this is pretty simple.

    On Venus, you have an oven that is cooking at 800+ degrees Fahrenheit (a Earthbound oven goes up to a little over 500 F I think, like 525 or so) so you can see if you drop meat (proteins) into the oven at that temp for very long it becomes carbonized (burns up).

    If you do the same thing and then put it under PRESSURE (not just a couple atmospheres, but over 90 atmospheres) you basically will create... diamonds out of the carbon.

    So... drop a piece of meat in there and it carbonizes under the great pressure and heat.

    Normal, living cells like in our bodies would first boil away, then carbonize.

    You'd be crushed to dust pretty much by the pressure.

    Now, imagine tiny one-celled critters trying to thrive there using our DNA, proteins, and carbon based life forms and you can see they just wouldn't.

    By the way... the majority of those things that live under great pressure near the "black smokers" in the ocean are: 1) small shrimp like creatures, 2) they don't go IN the intense heat of the boiling water, just near it, and 3) eat bacteria that DO grow there in that heat.

    So, LIFE IS POSSIBLE in terrible pressure and heat. But, who knows what it really is?

    I don't know of any studies to prove what it is the critters eat down there, or for that matter if any of it survived outside of the pressure it grew up in.

    I know that fish living in the depths when brought to the surface "explode" in a manner similar to what you would do if suddenly brought into outer space from the atmosphere. Your body would boil away juices and rupture most of your organs. Your eyes would probably freeze before they would pop. Your skin would be severely bruised by the lack of pressure (vacuum) on your body pulling at your vascular system.

    you'd have blood blisters (more like capillaries exploding, causing the bruising)

    So fish like the coelacanth that live 2500 feet below the surface of the ocean rupture their organs when brought to the surface. They die.
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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    800 degrees and acidic. What's not to like.

    Nothing is living there on the surface.

    Subsurface water perhaps? Maybe. It wouldn't take much venus to be insulated from the surface temps but since it's hot in the core too, there's no real way to cool down the firmament unless it was colder at one time.
    Last edited by Malsua; January 27th, 2012 at 01:21.
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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    Below is an example of possible life "out there" as found here on Earth:




    That is the electron micrograph of a rock that originated on Mars, landed on Earth after being blasted off Mars (probably by a meteor stike) and was found in the Antarctic.

    The 'structures' there could be bacteria. These are almost certainly some kind of fossils according to scientists.

    Got the picture from Wikipedia.

    here's a link to the details of the finding of the stone: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Hills_84001
    Last edited by American Patriot; January 27th, 2012 at 17:48.
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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    Well... it seems as though we have a winner... ME.

    Since I was a young fella I have thought that life on Earth came from outer space. I'm sure as a child I MUST have read something about "germs in comets" and came to a conclusion (one might call it a theory) that all life is carried by comets, meteorites and other debris from space.

    As it turns out, I was not only RIGHT, but they have proven it to be so.

    Apparently life DOES exist outside of our own world and apparently in an abundance we can't even conceive of at this time.

    I will further state for the record - and after I'm gone I expect you guys to force the scientific community (at gun point of course) to accept the fact that it was ME that came up with this theory (I don't care who else might have, it was ME, lol) and explain further that Mars was the MOON of another planet which was destroyed in a massive collision by another planet, the remains of both are still in orbit between Mars and Jupiter as the Asteroid Belt.

    My belief is that another habitable planet existed some millions of years back, perhaps a billion, while the Earth was just cooling enough to become habitable, the other world was already inhabited by creatures not unlike those found on Earth now perhaps, including algae, bacteria, and higher order critters like cows or ducks. (Maybe they would have had different names, but you get the point).

    A massive rock, perhaps the size of the Moon came tumbling in from deep space and smashed into that planet. Mars as a moon was orbiting and orbital mechanics will show that it wouldn't just fly off into space if it were missed completely but would have been affected by all the strange gravities from the Mother Planet, and the Evil Planet.

    The destruction of both worlds would have ripped any atmosphere off Mars that was left (or most of it) and caused water sublimation (the ice would sublimate since there would be little real water left because most would have been vaporized, and any ice left would have sublimated into space).

    All life would have died... anything living on the planet would have died except spores and perhaps seeds.

    Large amounts of rock would have hit Earth (seeding the Earth with things like Algae and Bacteria etc) and perhaps even a few pieces of living tissue might have survived.

    Mars, had it had life would have lost it all in the disaster. Earth would have been affected badly for many centuries because of the rain of rock and debris from the exploded worlds.

    The Great Red Spot on Jupiter is the final remains of the world that went blasting through the solar system - it crashed into Jupiter and created the massive storm we see today as "The Great Red Spot" - and it's still boiling but now has continued due to atmospheric reactions.

    So there you have it.... Earth was seeded from a "Mother planet" that existed in the orbit just beyond Mars, Mars having been devastated by the explosion and Jupiter scarred forever.... and spiders came from the Mother Planet (as did all other critters with more than four legs, spiders, crabs, lobsters, centipedes, milipedes, ticks, mites and all those nasty blood sucking fuckers I hate that are alien to Earth).



    Astrobiologists Find Ancient Fossils in Fireball Fragments

    Algae-like structures inside a Sri Lankan meteorite are clear evidence of panspermia, the idea that life exists throughout the universe, say astrobiologists.






    On 29 December 2012, a fireball lit up the early evening skies over the Sri Lankan province of Polonnaruwa. Hot, sparkling fragments of the fireball rained down across the countryside and witnesses reported the strong odour of tar or asphalt.


    Over the next few days, the local police gathered numerous examples of these stones and sent them to the Sri Lankan Medical Research Institute of the Ministry of Health in Colombo. After noticing curious features inside these stones, officials forwarded the samples to a team of astrobiologists at Cardiff University in the UK for further analysis.

    The results of these tests, which the Cardiff team reveal today, are extraordinary. They say the stones contain fossilised biological structures fused into the rock matrix and that their tests clearly rule out the possibility of terrestrial contamination.


    In total, Jamie Wallis at Cardiff University and a few buddies received 628 stone fragments collected from rice fields in the region. However, they were able to clearly identify only three as possible meteorites.


    The general properties of these three stones immediately mark them out as unusual. One stone, for example, had a density of less than 1 gram per cubic centimetre, less than all known carbonaceous meteorites. It had a partially fused crust, good evidence of atmospheric heating, a carbon content of up to 4 per cent and contained an abundance of organic compounds with a high molecular weight, which is not unknown in meteorites. On this evidence, Wallis and co think the fireball was probably a small comet.


    The most startling claims, however, are based on electron microscope images of structures within the stones (see above). Wallis and co. say that one image shows a complex, thick-walled, carbon-rich microfossil about 100 micrometres across that bares similarities with a group of largely extinct marine dinoflagellate algae.


    They say another image shows well-preserved flagella that are 2 micrometres in diameter and 100 micrometres long. By terrestrial standards, that’s extremely long and thin, which Wallis and co. interpret as evidence of formation in a low-gravity, low-pressure environment.


    Wallis and co. also measured the abundance of various elements in the samples to determine their origin. They say that low levels of nitrogen in particular rule out the possibility of contamination by modern organisms which would have a much higher nitrogen content. The fact that these samples are also buried within the rock matrix is further evidence, they say.


    Wallis and co. are convinced that the lines of evidence they have gathered are powerful and persuasive. “This provides clear and convincing evidence that these obviously ancient remains of extinct marine algae found embedded in the Polonnaruwa meteorite are indigenous to the stones and not the result of post-arrival microbial contaminants,” they conclude.


    There’s no question that a claim of this kind is likely to generate controversy. Critics have already pointed out that the stones could have been formed by lightning strikes on Earth although Wallis and co. counter by saying there was no evidence of lightning at the time of the fireball and that in any case, the stones do not bear the usual characteristics of this kind of strike. What’s more, the temperatures generated by lightning would have destroyed any biological content.


    Nevertheless, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and Wallis and co. will need to make their samples and evidence available to the scientific community for further study before the claims will be taken seriously.


    If the paper is taken at face value, one obvious question that arises is where these samples came from. Wallis and c.o have their own ideas: “The presence of fossilized biological structures provides compelling evidence in support of the theory of cometary panspermia first proposed over thirty years ago,” they say.


    This is an idea put forward by Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, the latter being a member of the team who has carried out this analysis.


    There are other explanations, of course. One is that the fireball was of terrestrial origin, a remnant of one of the many asteroid impacts in Earth’s history that that have ejected billions of tonnes of rock and water into space, presumably with biological material inside. Another is that the structures are not biological and have a different explanation.


    Either way, considerably more work will have to be done before the claims from this team can be broadly accepted. Exciting times ahead!
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    Cardif University claims of meteor 'algae fossils' spark debate

    • News Limited Network
    • March 12, 2013 8:00AM







    An electron microscope view of a collection of "fossils" found in what is believed to be a fragment from a meteor that exploded over Sri Lanka. Picture: University of Cardiff




    CONTROVERSY is raging over whether fossilised algae has been found inside the remains of a meteor which exploded over Sri Lanka last year.




    A Cardiff University team of astrobiologists examined specimens forwarded to them by the Sri Lankan Medical Research Institute when "curious features" appeared under the microscope.


    Some 628 fragments were recovered from rice fields after the fireball exploded in the sky on December 29.


    The Cardiff researchers have published a report in the Journal of Cosmology that the fused rocks appear to contain fossilised "biological structures" buried within three of them.


    Jamie Wallis of Cardiff University said the density of the rock and its composition indicates it may have been the remains of a comet.


    Electron microscope images reveal microfossils of about 100 micrometres across. Researchers say they appear similar to an almost extinct class of marine algae.





    A map published in the Journal of Cosmology showing where a fragment from a meteor believed to contain fossilised algae was recovered. Picture: University of Cardiff




    Another image shows what researchers say are unusually long and thin fossilised flagella (a set of cells forming a whip-like shape to propel tiny organisms). Their size and shape indicate a weightless, low pressure environment, the researchers say.


    The claims have generated controversy among the scientific community. Previous similar "fossilised" structures found in meteorites have been dismissed as either later contamination or simple crystalline structures.




    This supposedly fossilised structure found in a meteor. Picture: University of Cardiff





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    Scientists Publish Controversial Paper About Extra-Terrestrial Life on Meteorites

    By Ashley Davis, Tue, March 12, 2013

    Structures similar to algae were found on fragments of a meteorite which struck Sri Lanka last year, proving that life exists in other places of the universe.

    In a paper written by a team of scientists, they claim that the microscope images of the rocks reveal small fossilized life forms from space.

    They are convinced that their findings are evidence of panspermia, the hypothesis that life exists throughout the universe and is spread by meteoroids, asteroids and planetoids.

    In January, Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe of the Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology said initial investigations of the meteorite revealed evidence of alien life forms.

    Chandra is a joint author of a new study reiterating the claims based on new analysis of the rocks.

    In the paper, it explains that the meteorite fell on December 29 last year in Sri Lanka. As it blazed through the atmosphere, it disintegrated on entry and rained down on villages.

    Police in the area collected samples of the rocks and gave them to the Medical Research Institute of the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health.

    Cardiff’s School of Mathematics received 628 fragments of the meteorite, three of which were “clearly identified as possible meteorites.”

    In the most recent study, scientists claim the three rocks contain fossilized biological structures fused into the rock matrix.

    They said they also conducted tests ruling out the possibility of terrestrial contamination.

    Microscopic images of the structures show complex, thick-walled, carbon-rich microfossil around 100 micrometers across.

    Another image shows well-preserved flagella 100 micrometers long and two micrometers in diameter.

    Scientists said the long and thin nature of the structures indicate “a low gravity, low pressure environment and rapid freeze-drying,” which likely happened in space.

    They said their findings “offer clear and convincing evidence that these obviously ancient remains of extinct marine algae found embedded in the Polonnaruwa meteorite are indigenous to the stones and not the result of post-arrival microbial contaminants.”

    Professor Wickramasinghe said microbes from space are the reason life formed on our planet years ago.

    “We are all aliens - we share a cosmic ancestry,” he said. “Each time a new planetary system forms a few surviving microbes find their way into comets. These then multiply and seed other planets.”
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    Are We Alone? Extraterrestrial Ancient Fossils Found In Meteorite, Scientists Say



    By Jennifer Lilonsky | First Posted: Mar 13, 2013 07:50 AM EDT

    (Photo : Reuters )
    Astrobiologists in the United Kingdom said that they found three meteorite fragments that they think came from a fireball that flew across Polonnaruwa-a province of Sri Lanka-in December. And the scientists from the Cardiff University in Wales believe that the fragments are that of extraterrestrial origin.



    If what they say is true that means their discovery signifies life outside the Earth and proof supporting the theory of panspermia-the concept that life is spread throughout the universe via interstellar "seeding."


    The report appeared in the Physics arXiv Blog from the MIT Technology Review and outlines the discovery of fossils from ancient biological specimens.


    The scientists said that after testing the fossil fragments, they determined that the specimens were not terrestrial and concluded that the Sri Lankan fireball was probably from a comet.


    But the more exciting discovery is that the fossil fragments displayed biological properties when examined more closely with an electron microscope which showed a carbon-rich microfossil that measured about 100 micrograms across with what appeared to be long flagella and looked similar to an extinct form of algae, dinoflagellate.



    "This provides clear and convincing evidence that these obviously ancient remains of extinct marine algae found embedded in the Polonnaruwa meteorite are indigenous to the stones and not the result of post-arrival microbial contaminants," said Jamie Wallis, one of the scientists working on the discovery.
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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    Opposing viewpoint that points out Phil Plait has "debunked" this.

    I'll point out that I used to like Plait, until I found out how much a fuck head he is and a screaming fucking libertard who believes in Global Warming with a religious passion.

    Any time I see something like "Free thinking" and "free thought blogs" I have to wonder what the fuck that means anyway.

    So much for truth in science... anyway:

    Scientists Claim Meteorite Fragments Contain Alien Biological Fossils (They Don’t)

    Kyle Wagner

    A paper came out of Cardiff University today claiming to have found algae fossils in samples of a meteorite that landed in Sri Lanka this past December. At first glance, the claims are stunning: proof that life exists throughout the universe. But sadly, also deeply flawed.


    The analysis was carried out in part by Chandra Wickramasinghe, who along with the Journal of Cosmology has a questionable reputation around the science community. He is a proponent of panspermia—the idea that life originated in space—and has a history of claiming that, well, everything comes from space. Phil Plait, formerly of the Bad Astronomy blog, does an excellent job debunking Wickramasinghe's earlier claims here.


    So why is this latest discovery too good to be true? Some of the debunking goes as follows: Some of the "fossils" do not appear to actually be fossilized, and are all known freshwater species found on earth; the sample may have been contaminated by fresh water; the rock itself could be of Earth, simply struck by lightning; no one's actually sure the rock is from that meteorite; and the fossils would have had to go through an evolutionary history remarkably similar to Earth's.


    So, no. No alien life this time around. Of course, that's exactly what they'd want us to think. [Technology Review via Hacker News, Slate, Free Thought Blogs]
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    Researchers Say Algae-Like Structures Found in Sri Lankan Meteorite Support Theory that Life Exists Throughout Universe

    March 12, 2013 - 12:06am by Julie Kent


    Late last year, on December 29, 2012, a fireball lit up the evening skies over the Sri Lankan province of Polonnaruwa. Fragments of the meteorite fell across the countryside, and witnesses reported the strong smell of tar or asphalt. Over the course of the next few days, numbers samples of the stones were gathered by police and sent to the Sri Lankan Medical Research Institute of the Ministry of Health in Columbo. Officials then forwarded the samples to a team of astrobiologists in Cardiff University in England for further examination after discovering some unique features inside the stones. Cardiff astrobiologists say that the algae-like structures found in the meteorite are clear evidence of panspermia, which is the idea that life exists throughout the universe.


    The Carfiff researchers revealed the results of their analysis of the meteorite fragments on Monday, and are considered to be quite extraordinary. They state that the fragments contain fossilized biological structures fused into the rock matrix, and insist that their tests clearly rule out the possibility of terrestrial contamination.


    Jamie Wallis and colleagues at Cardiff University say that they received 628 stone fragments in total that were collected from the rice fields in the region. Only three were able to be clearly identified as possible meteorites.


    Properties of those three fragments immediately set them apart from normal, terrestrial stones. One of the pieces, for example, had a density of less than 1 gram per cubic centimeter, which is less than all known carbonaceous meteorites. It also had a partially fused crust, which is good evidence of atmospheric heating, a carbon content of up to 4 percent, and it contained an abudance of organic compounds with high molecular weight. Taking this evidence into consideration, Wallis believes the fireball was a small comet.


    However, the biggest findings come from electron microscope images of structures within the stones. Wallis says that one image shows a compelx, thick-walled, carbon-rich microfossil about 100 micrometers across that has similarities with a group of largely extinct marine dinoflagellate algae. A second image is said to show well-preserved flagella that are 2 mircometers in diameter and 100 micrometers long. That is extremely long and thin by Earth's standards, says Wallis, and he interprets that as evidence that it was formed in a low gravity and low pressure environment.


    Low levels of nitrogen in the samples rule out the possibility of contamination by modern organisms, as the modern organisms would have a much higher nitrogen content. The researchers say that the fact that these samples are also buried within the rock matrix is further evidence.
    The researchers concluded:
    “This provides clear and convincing evidence that these obviously ancient remains of extinct marine algae found embedded in the Polonnaruwa meteorite are indigenous to the stones and not the result of post-arrival microbial contaminants."
    With findings like this, there is sure to be controversy and others have already tried to come up with other explanations for their findings. Before the study can or will be taken seriously by the scientific community at large, Wallis and his colleagues will have to make their samples and evidence available to the scientific community for additional study. Nevertheless, the researchrers at Cardiff make some very interesting claims.
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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    Of course, I'm about 99% sure now that there ARE aliens out there, they HAVE contacted us and we are working to contact them back.... and they are probably commies too.
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    Research Digs Deeper Into Meteorite Landed in Sri Lanka


    Submitted by Ingela Maledevic on Wed, 03/13/2013 - 11:04


    A recent research talked about the presence of algae-like fossils in meteorite fragments, which apparently fell in Sri Lanka last year. It is believed that this revelation indicates that life on Earth started after a meteorite landed here, some billions of years ago. There are fair chances that life may exist somewhere else in the Universe too.


    It was in December 2012 that researchers noted a fireball over the skies of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. The team later collected fragments of the fireball and were further sent to fragments of the fireball. It was subsequently revealed through microscopic analysis that there are siliceous microalgae known as diatoms present in the meteorite.


    The same samples were sent to Cardiff University in Wales for extended research. They have also confirmed that these fragments have come from an extraterrestrial meteorite and are most likely to have "fossilized biological structures" within them.


    "The new data on `fossil' diatoms provide strong evidence to support the theory of cometary panspermia", said the team. The research is seen published in the Journal of Cosmology, a peer-reviewed journal that has faced many controversies from the year it was started, 2009. There is dire need to take the research further to clear the matter once for all.
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    Space Algae Invasion? Probably Not

    Mar 12, 2013 02:38 AM ET // by Ian O'Neill







    Forget hunting for organic chemistry inside rocks on Mars or complex organisms in Europa’s sub-surface oceans; the Cosmos has just FedEx’d some extraterrestrials direct to our door! Or, at least, that’s what a group of astrobiologists want us to believe.


    Unfortunately (or fortunately, it depends how you spin it), the research — uploaded to the arXiv preprint service and published in the questionable Journal of Cosmology (JoC) — probably isn’t conclusive evidence of the existence of extraterrestrial biology. Bummer.


    Frustratingly, it’s also an example of how science shouldn’t be done. But, by default, it’s also a fine example of how good, skeptical science writing should be done.


    PHOTOS: Top 10 Places To Find Alien Life

    To make a long story short, a paper published by a team of astrobiologists claims to have found “fossilized biological structures” inside meteorite fragments found after an apparent fireball over the North Central Province of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka, was seen on Dec. 29, 2012. This new publication appears to be based on the same samples that Chandra Wickramasinghe’s team analyzed and published results of in January. In that publication, the researchers went all out, claiming: “The new data on ‘fossil’ diatoms provide strong evidence to support the theory of cometary panspermia.”


    That research was heavily (and rightfully) criticized, not only for its baseless, extraordinary claims, but for the apparent poor scientific process and the fact no outside specialists were consulted before their work was published in the JoC. Oh, and there was a serious lack of some much-needed extraordinary evidence.
    So, what’s different in this new paper? Well, there’s some funky analysis detailed, little of which will calm the skeptics.
    It Probably DIDN’T Come from Outer Space?

    According to the new publication (uploaded to the arXiv on March 6), there were many eyewitness accounts of the meteorite fall over Sri Lanka. “Police records indicate reports of low level-burn injuries from immediate contact with the fallen stones and subsequent reports of a strong aroma,” the authors write. “One woman was reported to have lost consciousness and was transported to the hospital after inhaling fumes from one of the stones.”


    PICTURES: Top Exoplanets for Alien Life
    If you think this is sounding like the opening scene to an adaptation of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” you’re not alone.


    For starters, contrary to common belief, meteorite fragments are usually cool when they reach the ground. Sure, the space rock undergoes heating during entry through the atmosphere — when it generates a bright meteor caused by rapid pressure heating of the atmospheric gas in front of the meteor — but it’s not enough to heat a lump of rock that has been frozen to near absolute zero in deep space. Rocky meteorites are poor conductors of heat, so any heating that occurs during the few seconds of flight through the atmosphere chars and ablates the outside (creating an often smooth crust — called a fusion crust), but leaves the inside cold. In the case of a fireball that breaks up in the atmosphere, the fragments will fall at terminal velocity (i.e. much slower than the meteor), cooling even further before landing.


    Therefore, I find it hard to believe that any burn injuries occurred due to recently fallen meteorite fragments. (Memories of the Tel Aviv “meteorite” that behaved more like an incendiary device come flooding back.) As for the “strong aroma” and stones that produced “fumes” that rendered a woman unconscious, it is hard to see how a meteorite would have caused that. Perhaps the meteorite fragments hit a septic tank? That might explain it. Unless it’s some kind of rudimentary alien invasion tactic? Who knows.
    Already we’re on shaky ground. The event that allegedly accounted for the meteorite fragments delivered to Wickramasinghe’s team’s labs is based on a pretty strange series of events.




    ANALYSIS: Israeli Meteorite Misadventures
    And then there’s the meteorite fragments themselves. 628 fragments were collected from a large 10 kilometer-wide rice field fall zone, of which only three were positively identified by the team as originating from space. One sample is shown here.


    But there’s a problem… that doesn’t look like a meteorite. It’s kinda porous. And jagged-looking. It’s crumbling a bit, too.


    Usually meteorites are dense, smooth, dark rocks with a tell-tail fusion crust. Even fragments from a parent fireball don’t look like that. But it’s OK! They measured the oxygen isotopes contained within the samples to confirm “unequivocally” the ratios match that of known space rocks.


    Sadly, as Bad Astronomer Phil Plait points out, there’s no mention on how the team avoided carbonate contamination of the sample — contamination that can throw oxygen isotope measurements. “But even if they had (carried out the correct procedure), the non-standard oxygen isotope ratio is not proof of extraterrestriality, it just isn’t necessarily inconsistent with it. So really, their claim that the isotope ratio proves ‘unequivocally’ these are meteorites is wrong, plain and simple.” So there’s every chance that either the rocks are meteorites (but they were contaminated) or they are, you know, rocks. As in rocky rocks; rocks that came from the ground (on Earth).
    Planet-Hopping Life?

    Now… about those “aliens,” that, interestingly, are never referred to as such in the publication. Remarkably well-preserved “fossils” (pictured top) of alleged diatoms that have allegedly been found inside the samples of alleged meteorite samples. Diatoms are a type of algae. Needless to say, the discovery of this type biology inside a meteorite would be historic. Unfortunately, despite the researchers’ claims to the contrary, they are likely contamination.


    ANALYSIS: Has Evidence for Alien Life Been Found?

    “Wickramasinghe’s team claims they found diatoms deep inside the samples, and therefore can’t be contaminated,” wrote Plait. “But this is incorrect. I’ve talked to biologists who look for life in rocks, and they say that contamination is a huge problem. These buggers are small and can find their ways into the smallest cracks and fissures.” Also, as these “meteorite” fragments fell in a rice field — known to be a pretty wet place — contamination with Sri Lankan algae would probably be the most likely explanation.


    At first glance, the research seems genuine, but after a little reading, it becomes clear that the correct procedure has not been carried out. Also, the fact that experts in the fields of meteorites and diatoms were not consulted is another red flag. This is not peer-reviewed science. Add all this to the fact that none of this work was published in a mainstream journal should be a warning that the extraordinary conclusions are baseless.


    The hypothesis that life was seeded by hitchhiking microbes inside space rocks from planet to planet — known as panspermia — is grounded in real science, however. But there is currently no evidence supporting the hypothesis, so far. Personally, I think the hypothesis makes a whole lot of sense, but until we have real evidence to support this idea, it will remain a hypothesis, nothing more.


    It is my concern that knee-jerk studies such as this and the inevitable tabloid headlines they produce cheapen the genuine science being done by astrobiologists. The search for extraterrestrial life, and potential transfer mechanisms like panspermia, is one of the most profound hunts of our time — in fact, of any time. It is critical that the scientific due diligence is done before claims of extraterrestrial biology is even hinted at.


    For more detail and analysis, be sure to check out Bad Astronomy at Slate.com
    Publication: “The Polonnaruwa meteorite: oxygen isotope, crystalline and biological composition,” arXiv:1303.1845 [q-bio.OT]
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