The recently announced confirmation of a global ocean beneath the icy outer shell of the Saturnian moon Enceladus provides strong support for cometary panspermia. Recent discoveries have shown that cyanobacteria, diatoms and other photosynthetic microphytoplankton live in the deep, dark bathysphere of the terrestrial oceans. Evidence for liquid water regimes that might harbour life and organics on other icy moons, comets and Pluto adds credence to the concept of a single connected microbial biosphere in the solar system. These discoveries provide additional support for the possibility that life may be widely distributed throughout the distant regions of the Solar System and the validity of the hypothesis of Panspermia.
Biological entities were isolated at a height of between 22-27 km in the stratosphere. Sampling of this region was carried out in the UK in July 2013 using a relatively simple low-cost balloon-borne sampler carrying aseptically clean scanning electron microscope stubs onto which aerosols were directly captured. The entities varied from a presumptive colony of ultra-small bacteria to two unusual individual organisms - part of a diatom frustule and a 200 micron-sized particle mass interlaced with biological filaments. Biological entities of this nature have not previously been reported occurring in the stratosphere; their likely origin is discussed and we provide arguments to support our view that such biological entities may have arrived from space. The new data gives strong confirmation of the Hoyle-Wickramasinghe theory of cometary panspermia.
We have shown that the red cells found in the Red Rain (which fell on Kerala, India, in 2001) survive and grow after
incubation for periods of up to two hours at 121°C . Under these conditions daughter cells appear within the original
mother cells and the number of cells in the samples increases with length of exposure to 121°C. No such increase in cells
occurs at room temperature, suggesting that the increase in daughter cells is brought about by exposure of the Red Rain
cells to high temperatures. This is an independent confirmation of results reported earlier by two of the present authors,
claiming that the cells can replicate under high pressure at temperatures upto 300°C. The flourescence behaviour of the
red cells is shown to be in remarkable correspondence with the extended red emission observed in the Red Rectagle
planetary nebula and other galactic and extragalactic dust clouds, suggesting, though not proving an extraterrestrial
Culturable bacteria have recently been found in the stratosphere (at heights up to 41km). How do such bacteria cross the
tropopause to reach such heights? Although possible mechanisms are suggested here, such transfer remains difficult to
explain. It is however, likely to more easily achieved by sub-micron bacteria. Such small forms have been found in
terrestrial environments and have the potential to seed the stratosphere. Large, ten micron clumps of bacteria have also
been found in the stratosphere and it is suggested that these are incoming to Earth from space. Finally, the possibility
will be discussed that the presence of bacteria in the stratosphere has led to an increase in the rate of evolution.
Data acquired from various scientific disciplines in the past five years have converged to elevate the status of panspermia as one of the major contenders in theories of the origins of life on Earth. We review the trends that point towards a vindication of the idea that biomaterial from comets may be distributed widely throughout the universe and might even be reaching us in the present day.
The presence of viable, but non-cultureable, bacteria on membranes through which strastopheric air samples were passed has been confirmed using viable fluorescent staining. The results are discussed in relation to the likely origin of the observed organisms.
Samples of air removed from the stratosphere, at an altitude of 41km, were previously found to contain viable, but non-cultureable bacteria (cocci and rods). Here, we describe experiments aimed at growing these organisms, together with any others, present in the samples. Two bacteria (Bacillus simplex and Staphylococcus pasteuri) and a single fungus, Engyodontium albus (limber)de Hoog were isolated from the samples. Contamination can never be ruled out when space-derived samples are studied on earth, however, we are confident that the organisms isolated here originated from the stratosphere.
The conceptual boundaries of life are rapidly expanding far beyond the confines of our planet to encompass an ever-widening region of the universe. Complex organic molecules in interstellar dust and comets appear most plausibly to be biologically derived, or at least closely related spectroscopically and structurally to such material. A de novo origin of life from non-living material is reckoned to have so minuscule a probability that its occurrence once in the universe can be considered miracle enough. The widespread distribution of similar material (e.g with the characteristics of the diffuse infrared bands and 2175 absorption features) throughout the galaxy and in external galaxies adds weight to the theory of panspermia, where it is supposed that the components of life at a generic level are readily transferred from one place to another. Spectroscopic evidence consistent with life extends to redshifts z=0.83, and from elemental abundance studies alone (e.g, of C, O and metals) in distant galaxies the possibility of cosmic life extends to redshifts as high as z=2.7.