Colossal Elliptical Galaxy --"With Most Massive Black Hole in the Universe Orbited by 12,000 Globular Clusters"
"No Escape" --The 'Black Holes' of Earth's Oceans

Evidence of Extraterrestrial Life found in Earth's Atmosphere --Challenged!


Extraterrestrial-Carbon_pic (1)


Scientists from the University of Sheffield claim they have discovered proof of extraterrestrial life. Their evidence? The team launched a balloon 16 miles into the stratosphere, and it came back carrying small biological organisms. Professor Milton Wainwright, who led the team, is "95 percent certain that these biological entities are of extraterrestrial origin."

"If we're right, it means that there's life in space, and it's coming to earth. It means that life on earth probably originated in space. Most people will assume that these biological particles must have just drifted up to the stratosphere from Earth, but it is generally accepted that a particle of the size found cannot be lifted from Earth to heights of, for example, 27 kilometers."

But astronomer Phil Plait say's it's looks like the 'biological material' the scientists found probably didn't come from outer space: "There are a lot of reasons to think this claim is unfounded, but one is right in their very paper. The diatom ... appears clean, even pristine. As they themselves say: It is noticeable that the diatom fragment is remarkably clean and free of soil or other solid material ... which would be incredibly unlikely if it did come from a comet or a meteoroid, he wrote in Slate.

Plait also doubts the idea that a microorganism from Earth couldn't be held aloft by wind and turbulence for a long period of time acccording to the University of Sheffield scientists' theory.

However, the scientist who led the research, Chandra Wickramasinghe, Director of the Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology, University of Buckingham, is a proponent of the theory of panspermia, which according to Plait, could affect his research. Wickramasinghe and the late English astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle co-developed a theory known as "panspermia," which suggests that life exists throughout the universe and is distributed by meteoroids and asteroids.

In a paper called "Fossil Diatoms In A New Carbonaceous Meteorite" that appeared in the controversila Journal of Cosmology, Wickramasinghe claimed to have found strong evidence that life exists throughout the universe based on his study of the reported remains of a large meteorite (see image below right) that fell near the Sri Lanka village of Polonnaruwa on Dec. 29, 2012.

"Wickramasinghe jumps on everything, with little or no evidence, and says it's from outer space, so I think there's a case to be made for a bias on his part," says Plait reported in Slate.

The scientists still have one more test to perform --"isotope fractionation"--which will determine whether the ratio of certain isotopes is consistent with that of organisms from earth. Professor Milton Wainwright is confident that they they be extraterrestrial in origin. Stay tuned!

The image at the top of the page shows organic carbon in a ordinary chondritic meteorite obtained using a scanning transmission X-ray microscope at the Advanced Light Source, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. The sample was obtained using a focused ion beam electron microscope (mill). In this image, carbon is highlighed in red, iron in blue and calcium is green.The history of the early Solar System is recorded in the molecular structure of extraterrestrial organic solids. 

The Daily Galaxy via Slate and PBS

Image credit:, provided by George Cody, Conel Alexander, and Larry Nittler.


What would be the chance that organic material would be thrusted into orbit by an asteroid shockwave? I'm thinking the dinosaurs. Maybe the asteroid that fell on Earth caused some dust to really get that high in the atmosphere. Or other similar events since then.

Is space a more suitable environment to sustain life than a planet with water and an atmosphere?

It is not entirely impossible, but it is certainly an unlikely hypothesis. I would add that the hypothesis of extraterrestrial beings creating life or modifying it on earth eons ago is even more probable than this one. But maybe...

Caution is necessary...

A volcanic eruption could throw organic debris into the high-atmosphere, it wouldn't need to be something so interesting as a space-based object (comet, meteor, etc). The Slate article referenced in this article states that Chandra Wickramasinghe is the same person who, prior to this current claim, claimed to find diatoms in meteorites previously only to be proven to have terrible methodology and to have published unsubstantiated conclusions. According to the same article, his team didn't even verify that the rocks they studied were in fact meteorites.

It even says in this DG article, though misspelled (I'm looking at you editor) that these findings were originally published in the "controversial Journal of Cosmology". That, if nothing else, is reason enough to disregard the claim

From what I can tell, this claim is about as frivolous as a claim can get, and any publishing of such a claim without researching into, or at least acknowledging the claimant's history (which DG is obviously attempting to do here, good job DG) is equally frivolous.

I thoroughly detest the nasty way that Plait presents his doubts concerning the extra-terrestrial origin of the organisms found on the balloon, by disparaging Chandra Wickramasinghe. This is a small minded attack on an esteemed scientist and his ideas. Panspermia is by no means a discredited theory for building blocks of life have indeed be found to exist in deep space nebulae, and could indeed have been seeded here on earth. We simply do not know enough about the origins of life on earth to dismiss that possibility. Stick with what you know, or with your hypotheses, Mr. Plait, and do not try to weight your arguments with insults to other scientists.

It is not entirely impossible, but it is certainly an unlikely hypothesis. I would add that the hypothesis of extraterrestrial beings creating life or modifying it on earth eons ago is even more probable than this one. But maybe...

Hello friends, I do not know much about extraterrestrial origin of life, but it seems like everyone is criticizing this article, so I would like to know what criteria this so called discovered "biological organism" should satisfy / pass in order to be ascertained that the organism indeed has the extraterrestrial origins.

Thank you :)

If people haven't, click through and read Plait's in-depth comments here:

It's refreshing to see the DG follow up on the criticism to some of the sensationalist junk that comes up all too often.

It seems to me that is a balloon is launched from the surface it has to travel through the lower atmosphere (loaded with organic material perhaps?) to reach the stratosphere. Was this balloon experiment sterilized to start with? What precautions for contamination were taken? Seems doubtful to me that "space" is the origin here...

I was one of the writers of the Wikipedia article on Chandra Wickramasinghe, and can tell you that this latest research by Milton Wainwright, one of his long-term collaborators, is another in his latest series of bids for attention from the media. In the 1970s and 80s, Wickramasinghe conducted legitimate scientific work, but now he's merely become a supporter of creationist and odd extraterrestrial hypotheses. He's like the anti-Dawkins.

I believe that extraterrestrial life is common in the Universe, but I don't think that every organism found in the atmosphere has to be from space. The latest "research" makes a highly unlikely conclusion, to say the least.

Has anyone else heard about the shadow biosphere and its connection to ET life? Where is that research now?

Many researchers have sent baloons to the stratosphere, with outmost care regarding claims about the obtained results. Besides, it is known that our planet recieves permanently and isotropically several tons of cosmic dust per day, since the beginning of time. This expression, "cosmic dust", refers precisely to "extaterrestrial dust", conformed mainly by micrometeorites, which eventually reaches surface. The Sheffield report is interesting, but sounds quite naïve to me. For example, nothing is said about previous and elementary electron microscope inspection of the collected material. Any high school sudent will certailly proceed so before sayng anything else. Ricardo Miró, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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