13 March 2013

Possible support for panspermia

From MIT Technology Review:
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... 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...

The most startling claims, however, are based on electron microscope images of structures within the stones. Wallis and co. say that one image shows a complex, thick-walled, carbon-rich microfossil about 100 micrometres across that bares [sic] 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.
Claims similar to this have been made before; it will be interesting to see how this one pans out.  Panspermia explained.

Source publication.


  1. Their claims don't hold much water: http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/03/11/meteorite_life_claims_of_fossils_in_a_meteorite_are_still_wrong.html

    1. Whoa. Don't know what's up with the weird spacing...

  2. No. Everything about this paper is suspect. See this Bad Astronomy blog post by Phil Plait:


    It's almost certainly not a meteorite.


    1. Yep, I tend to side with Phil Plait on this one. Very shaky science there.

  3. Well I, for one, welcome our Panspermatozoic overlords!

  4. I think that Cardiff is the lab that's been investigating the "red rain of Kerala"



  5. http://www.starlarvae.org/Star_Larvae_Panspermia.html The jury is still out on Chandra's assertions about diatoms in the meteorite. Hang in there.


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