Issue 2015-09-10 : Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe's Quarterly Newsletter on Panspermia Developments
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Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe

2015 Seeking the Signs of Life

September 2015 : Email Newsletter

Since the Kepler Mission results of 2013,  I am pleased to report that the theory of Panspermia seems to have been "brought in from the academic cold". I am particularly delighted to be taking up a position as "by-fellow" at Churchill College, Cambridge University, England for the period 2015/2016.

Judging by the emails I receive and the reception I get whenever I speak, there has been a major consciousness change since 2013.  Certainly a new generation of scientists, brought up on Star Trek and Star Wars, have no embarrassment in admitting that NASA's new umbrella mission "tag line" is one in which they can believe and get excited about. This applies to the physicists, geologists and astronomers, as much as the astrobiologists. 

I like to show this video clip from back in 2010 when JPL Astrobiologist Dr. Chris McKay is confidently explaining the probability that asteroid impact has resulted in the dispersion of microbes around the solar system. I show this because it does illustrate that Panspermia was becoming mainstream science even 6 years ago.

Ten years earlier though, back around 2000, I was unsuccessful in convincing my fellow principal investigators on the Rosetta Mission design team,  to include simple "life detection" experiments. It was considered unacceptable to hypothesize that life forms as complex as tardigrades might exist inside comets. Even to think about experiments which might test for viruses and bacteria existing inside short period comets with orbits as short as 67P's 8-year orbit was still unacceptable to the experiment designers. How times have changed!

Of course back in 2000 the symbiotic relationship that viruses have with life (and especially with humans) was only just being talked about.

And then there was the challenge of testing for such small particles. There were certainly no low cost, light weight technologies to easily incorporate into experiments on Philae or even on the Orbiter. This lack of interest in "life detection" was a great disappointment to me at the time, and resulted in my leaving the team.

So you can only imagine my delight when I recently learned more about the MIDAS experiment on the Rosetta orbiter. I urge you to learn more and to watch with interest as the first papers come out using the MIDAS instrument

Although it is unlikely the ESA Rosetta team will feel confident enough in their findings to admit they have found the signs of life, we are hoping they will admit that the particles detected by MIDAS are consistent with life.

With the first ESA papers coming out at the end of 2014, by February 2015, my own team had already conducted their own analysis of the data published, and had  confidently laid out a less conservative interpretation: data emerging from the Rosetta Mission all points indirectly to biological activity in Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko . We discuss this in a separate article below.

No matter what the final results from this mission, the good news is that  we only have 8 years for COMET 67P to come around again. And this time you can expect we really will carry the full life detection apparatus.

As I have discussed many times, the theory of Panspermia in the inner solar system requires that Comet 6P contain life. So if it can be proven NOT to,  then this would negate the whole theory. Not a conclusion I would be too happy about I assure you. BUT profound non-the-less.

Feedback is appreciated. Please feel free to contact me : 

Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe
Director of the Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology, 
University of Buckingham, 
Buckingham, UK

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Professor Milton Wainwright leads the Exploration of the Stratosphere

I highly recommend this wonderful autobiography. I could not put it down.

This is all about Chandra and Priya and their family;  and about the family side of the story of Chandra and Fred's 40 years of collaboration. 

I was immediately captured by the quote in the preface :

"Upon this age, that never speaks its mind 
This furtive age, this age endowed with power.... 
Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour, 
Rains from the sky a meteoric shower 
Of fact. ..they lie unquestioned, uncombined, 
Wisdom enough to leach us of our ill
Is daily spun; but there exists no loom 
To weave it into fabric."

Edna St. Vincent Millay from Collected Sonnets 
(NY: Harper Perennial, 1988 p140) 

P.S. Perhaps Chandra, the Internet is the "loom" that Edna was wishing for. And perhaps the fabric is already being woven before our eyes. 

Click on the link to purchase

Bill Smith

“Our team has caused quite a stir over the last two years by claiming these microbes are continually arriving to Earth from space. 

“Our critics have been vocal in dismissing our work but, as yet, no one has provided a viable alternative explanation for our peer reviewed work.”

He said the structure is an “amorphous form” attached to a grain of salt and was discovered with rare elements including dysprosium, lutetium, neodymium and niobium. He said: “As far as we can tell the particle has no relation to anything found on Earth. “This latest launch is also exciting because the team has found particles containing, so-called, rare earth elements  at a height close to 30 kilometres in the stratosphere.

“These particle masses are too big to have been carried up from Earth and, like the alien life forms we find, must be incoming to Earth from space.”

The find earlier this summer follows the discovery of the dragon particle and ghost particle last year and the strange seed-like organism which baffled scientists this spring.

Link to Daily Express Article.
Rosetta Studies of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko: Prospects for Establishing Cometary Biology
We discuss a wide range of data emerging from the Rosetta Mission that all point indirectly to biological activity in Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The existence of cracks and fissures on a smooth surface terrain apparently resealed, as well as early outgassing activity are consistent with the existence of subsurface lakes in which biological activity builds up high pressures of volatile gases that sporadically ruptures a frozen icy crust. While microorganisms probably require liquid water bodies for their early colonising of a comet, they can inhabit cracks in ice and sub-crustal snow, especially if they contain antifreeze salts and biopolymers. Some organisms metabolise at temperatures as low as 230 K, explaining the coma of Comet 97P out at 3.9AU and our prediction is that they would become increasingly active in the near-surface layers as the comet approaches its 1.3 AU perihelion. The detection of an overwhelming abundance of complex organic molecules at the surface by Philae and through IR imaging by the Rosetta orbiter is most significant.



Think of Your Local Weather Forecast :

You and your family watch the weather forecast every night. To deliver this the weather man uses a global system consisting of : sensors in the air, on the oceans and on the ground; communication systems to pipe the data in real-time to a central control system; data reporting and modelling tools to display the current “maps” and to predict and display the future maps. 
There are 5-10 major systems which do this : UK, USA, Australia etc.

Now Extend this to a Microbe Forecast

The Hoyle Shield is a very similar system with equivalent components but analysing clouds of microbes not simply clouds of water vapour (the sensors are much more sophisticated sensors being able to detect viruses, bacteria and algae). 


The output of the weather system includes visual  maps (2D) of temperature, pressure and rainfall (both actual and predicted).

The output of the Hoyle Shield System includes visual maps (3D)  of “microbe clouds” colour coded for “type and density”; showing flow; predicted arrival location and estimated time of arrival at ground level

The Hoyle Shield - Near Earth Object (NEO) Visualization and Detection Network

The Hoyle Shield will include a parallel sub-system modelled upon the AllSkyCam network implemented by volunteers across the world. : This visual systems is called "The Hoyle Shield - Near Earth Object (NEO) detection network"  - and is being developed in Sri Lanka.


The Outputs from the NEO system are : 
  • a set of real-time video streams from each NEO system location
  • a historic database of video from same locations

William E. (Bill) Smith
Hoyle Shield Project
The first phase of the Hoyle Shield Project is designed to answer this single question : 

AbRecCon 2015 was held at the International Research Centre at the University of Peradeniya close to Kandy in central Sri Lanka. This is the University where Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe is an Affiliated Visiting Professor. 

The conference was particularly significant as epitomized in the title - Transition from Earth Centred Biology to Cosmic Biology.

Professor Chandra's keynote speech opened the conference with a profound discussion entitled "Search for Alien Planets and Alien Intelligence". The speech was well received.

Click here to see the conference "Book of Abstracts".

PS As visitors always express, "A spectacularly beautiful campus located in an equally wonderful town". This week the newly sworn-in Sri Lanka Minister of Town Planning and Water Resources, Rauf Hakeem, announced that Kandy was to become Sri Lanka’s first smart city.

The Three Month's Developments as a Summary Hot List

June 1, 2015 - August 30, 2015

Here is my latest summary list of the items from the last three months on the website that we recommend you check out :
Best wishes

Professor Brig Klyce
Honorary Associate Professor, Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology
Click here to learn more about the commemoration giclees celebrating "Life is a Cosmic Phenomenon" in 2015. A gift from Cattle Point Foundation, in Canada to :
  • Churchill College, Cambridge, UK
  • University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
The giclees depict existing life on earth welcoming new life coming in bound to earth on a comet. The salmon, the orca and the thunderbird reach up to the sky and to the comet.

It is designed to motivate Churchill College and U. Peradeniya students to learn more about : W. E. Smith
Cattle Point Foundation, Oak Bay, Victoria, BC, Canada
Bill Smith presents the giclee "Life is a Cosmic Phenomenon" to Prof. Upul Dissanayake, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Peradeniya in honour of the work of Chandra and Fred, and especially in honour of the University of Peradeniya for hosting this visionary conference "The Transition from Earth-Centered Biology to Cosmic Biology" - AbReCon2015. 


Assisted by my colleagues Professor Brig Klyce and Bill Smith, this newsletter is designed to be a convenient way for the avid science reader to keep up to date with the growing evidence that "Life is a Cosmic Phenomenon". Panspermia has entered mainstream science.

You should also check out my website :

Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe.
Copyright © 2015, All rights reserved.

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