Evidence of life outside earth (7 May 2016)
This article by Professor Wickramasinghe was published in The Island. Please click here to read the full article. He summarises recent scientific developments, which he believes “all spell out a single cosmic truth. Homo Sapiens as a sentient species appears to be hard-wired to seek out its cosmic origins, perhaps intuitively sensing that we cannot be alone.” He writes that “over the past few years there has been a gradual realisation that life must be a truly cosmic phenomenon”. Intelligent extra-terrestrial life might be a threat; bacteria and viruses coming to Earth could bring pandemic disease affecting humans, animals or plants.
Greenhouse gases and the world climate (15 January 2016)
In an essay published in 1999, Sir Fred Hoyle and Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe wrote that mankind’s ability to inject greenhouse gases into the atmosphere was essential to “maintaining the present advantageous world climate, the opposite of what environmentalists are erroneously advocating.” A new study published by the Global Warming Policy Forum has vindicated their climate scepticism. Read more on the GWPF website.
Centaurs as a hazard to civilization (4 January 2016)
The article in the Royal Astronomical Society’s journal Astronomy & Geophysics co-authored by Professors Bill Napier and Duncan Steel, “Centaurs as a hazard to civilisation“, has received extensive media coverage for its suggestion that the Earth is in more danger of colliding with the debris of a giant comet than with an asteroid. There have been reports of the findings in Astronomy Magazine (22 December), Royal Astronomical Society website (22 December), Daily Express (22 December), Science Daily (22 December), Daily Mail (22 December), Phys.org website (22 December), The Guardian (23 December), Sky News (23 December) and many other places.
Royal Astronomical Society conference (8 October 2015)
The RAS is holding a special conference to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Sir Fred Hoyle, who was President of the Society 1971-73: Fred Hoyle Birth Centennial – his remarkable career and the impact of his science. It will take place at Burlington House, London. Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe will speak on “Fred Hoyle and the foundation of astrobiology as a new discipline”. More information about the conference.
Liquid water on Mars (2 October 2015)
Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe had letters published in The Times and The Guardian after the news about water on Mars. Click here for the letter in The Guardian. In The Times, he wrote:
The announcement that liquid water exists on Mars was accompanied by the comment that the discovery raises the chances of microbial life existing on the planet. Although we have no knowledge of how non-living matter turns spontaneously to life anywhere in the cosmos, it is a fact that Mars and Earth are intimately linked in the solar system. Over the past four billion years comet impacts have taken place regularly on both planets, and these impacts could have brought life to both Mars and Earth from a common source. The most violent of these impacts could also have exchanged ejecta in the form of meteorites that carried viable microorganisms from Earth to Mars and vice versa. In either scenario, the newly discovered watery planet Mars and our home planet Earth would form a single connected biosphere for microbial life. This would ensure the certainty of microbial life existing in the watery environments of Mars.
Case for life on Pluto (9 September 2015)
Max Wallis and Chandra Wickramasinghe argue in the current issue of the Journal of Astrobiology & Outreach that the first results from the New Horizon Mission to Pluto shows evidence of a fluid interior with a radioactive heat source driving mountain tectonics and surface restructuring. The presence of methane ice suggests past or ongoing biological sources. Read the full article: “Pluto’s surprises: Mountain tectonics, methane and evidence of biology”.
Press coverage (August – September 2015)
The Daily Express (4 September) published a picture (shown on the right) from Professor Milton Wainwright’s current study in the stratosphere, showing a bull-shaped particle erupting from a crystal of salt, which Professor Wainwright believes to be an alien microbe of the sort which is continually arriving from space. Read the article on the Express website.
Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe had a letter published in The Independent (8 August) putting the Rosetta mission to Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko in the context of other research. Read the letter on the Independent website. In another letter to The Independent (3 August) he explained how new evidence supports the theory of panspermia. Read the letter: Comet evidence supports theory of cosmic life.
University of Buckingham astrobiologists endorsed by UK Space Agency to look for life on Mars (23 July 2015)
The UK Space Agency has endorsed an experiment proposal submitted to the NASA ROSES-2015: The Mars Science Laboratory Participating Scientist Program by a group of scientists including two members of BCAB, Barry E. DiGregorio and Gilbert V. Levin. Ronald I. Dorn a Professor of Geography of Arizona State University, in Tempe, Arizona, Giorgio Bianciardi a Researcher and Adjunct Professor at the Dept of Medical Biotechnologies at Siena University, Italy, and Robert Lodder, Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington Kentucky, are also participants. The proposal, titled “A search for extant endolithic and hypolithic microbial communities”, if selected by NASA and the UK Space Agency, would be the first effort to look for evidence of current life on Mars since Viking in 1976. Already endorsed but awaiting funding approval by the UK Space Agency, the new proposal would be a part of Curiosity’s Extended Mission objectives from October 2015-2019 as the rover makes the long climb to the top of the 8-kilometer Mount Sharp. The Buckingham proposal seeks to use the frequencies of special spectroscopic filters on the Mast Camera and MAHLI microscopic imager camera on the Curiosity to look for evidence of microorganisms. Photosynthetic pigments, portions of or intact microorganisms (endolithic microbes) that might be alive inside freshly broken or those living under rocks (hypolithic microbes) would be sought. The rover wheels sometimes break open or turn over rocks providing fresh surfaces. Read the full BCAB press release: University of Buckingham astrobiologists endorsed by UK Space Agency to look for life on Mars
Possibility of life on Comet 67P (6 July 2015)
Dr Max Wallis and Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe argue that the features of Comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko (currently being studied by the Rosetta spacecraft and Philae lander) are consistent with a mixture of ice and organic material warmed by the sun which can support active micro-organisms. Organic material is found in the black crust of the comet, which also has large flat-bottomed craters of refrozen water. They say that it could be more hospitable to micro-life than the polar regions of Earth, and their computer simulations show that micro-organisms could be active at the low temperatures which occur on the comet, becoming more dynamic as it approaches the Sun. Dr Wallis presented their findings at the Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy meeting in Llandudno on 6 July (read the summary of his paper). Read more in The Huffington Post (6 July), The Independent (6 July) and The Guardian (6 July).
The centenary of Sir Fred Hoyle (1915-2001)
24 June 2015 was the centenary of the birth of Sir Fred Hoyle, pioneering scientist, astronomer and astrobiologist. In honour of the occasion, The Island published an article about him by Kamala Wickramasinghe: A man who changed the way we see the world and a news article: Vindication of the theory of our cometary origins.
New Horizons mission to Pluto (22 March 2015)
In an article published in Earth Magazine, Barry diGregorio looks at NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft’s mission to the outer solar system: Pluto, the Kuiper Belt and beyond. Apart from Pluto itself, new understanding of comets and planet formation can be expected. Read the article: “A journey to Pluto and beyond with New Horizons“.
Journal of Astrobiology and Outreach (11 March 2015)
The Journal of Astrobiology and Outreach 3.1 (2015) includes a number of review articles by BCAB members:
- N. Chandra Wickramasinghe, Gensuke Tokoro and Milton Wainwright, “The Transition from Earth-centred Biology to Cosmic Life“
- N.C. Wickramasinghe, M. Wainwright, W.E. Smith, G. Tokoro, S. Al Mufti and M.K. Wallis, “Rosetta Studies of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko: Prospects for Establishing Cometary Biology“
- Max K. Wallis and N.C. Wickramasinghe, “Rosetta Images of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko: Inferences from Its Terrain and Structure“
Is this picture a ‘seed’ sent to Earth by aliens? Scientists discover mysterious organism (24 January 2015)
Professor Milton Wainwright and his team have found a microscopic metal globe in dust and particulate matter collected from the stratosphere. Professor Wainwright said the structure is made from the metals titanium and vanadium with a “gooey” biological liquid oozing from its centre. He said there are several theories as to where it came from, the first being it is a complete microorganism programmed to propagate alien life on Earth. “It is a ball about the width of a human hair, which has filamentous life on the outside and a gooey biological material oozing from its centre,” he said. Read the full article on the Express website.
Ghost particle (16 January 2015)
The Daily Express published images of a spectral ‘ghost particle’ discovered in debris gathered from the stratosphere. They quote Professor Milton Wainwright, who speculates “that in its space environment this ‘ghost particle’ is a living balloon which an alien microscopic organism might inflate with lighter than air gasses”, and says that the particles “are like nothing previously found on Earth.” Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe says: “It lends very strong support to the theory of cometary panspermia”. Read the full article, which has attracted widespread media coverage, on the Express website.
Max Wallis, Milton Wainwright and Chandra Wickramasinghe have published two articles about the Rosetta mission in the Journal of Cosmology: “Rosetta images of Comet 67P / Churyumov–Gerasimenko 1: Near-surface icy terrain similar to comet Tempel-1” (24.19, 12297-12304) and “Rosetta images … Read more
DNA carries the blueprint of all life, and its survival during space travel is essential if life is to be regarded a cosmic phenomenon. DNA (plasmid DNA) mounted on the exterior of a TEXUS-49 rocket was launched from Kiruna in … Read more
Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe has been appointed Editor in Chief of the Journal of Astrobiology and Outreach. He has published an open letter asking for contributions to the journal about the Rosetta mission: Today’s landing on a comet has been hailed … Read more
A Russian-US-German team of astronauts landed in Kazakhstan after 165 days in space, with their discovery of new forms of life labelled “one of the most important discoveries” in recent history. Professor Wickramasinghe is quoted extensively in an article by … Read more
Professor Wickramasinghe argues in an article in the Daily Express that dinosaurs were probably wiped out by a virus which originated in space. Other lethal viruses which have appeared during human evolution could have been carried by comets and entered … Read more
A balloon sent into the stratosphere has collected a structure colloquially called ‘the dragon particle’, made of carbon and oxygen, and completely free of Earth-derived debris. Professor Wainwright and his team at Sheffield and Buckingham argue that it proves extra-terrestrial … Read more
At a UN-sponsored Symposium on the “Space Science and the United Nations” held in Graz, Austria, from 22-24 September 2014, Chandra Wickramasinghe presented a paper entitled “The transition from Earth-centred biology to cosmic life” with co-authors Gensuke Tokoro and Milton … Read more
The recent discovery of an interstellar molecule, isopropyl cyanide, C3H7CN with a branched carbon structure has been much publicised and hailed as evidence for the beginnings of life interstellar space. Whilst the researchers should be congratulated for the detection of … Read more
The September 2014 issue of the Journal of Cosmology contains a number of papers authored or co-authored by BCAB members: N. Chandra Wickramasinghe & Gensuke Tokoro, “Life as a Cosmic Phenomenon: 1. The Socio-Econonomic Control of a Scientific Paradigm“ Gensuke … Read more
Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe delivers the Ray Wijewardene Memorial Lecture to a packed hall in Colombo
Read a report of the lecture, which was entitled “Extraterrestrial life and the future trajectory of humanity”, in the Sunday Times (Sri Lanka), and find out more on the Ray Wijewardene Trust website.
BCAB Visiting Professor Duncan Steel has said that the original search and rescue operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane was in the wrong place. Based on available data, the plane probably ended up much further south. He also suggested … Read more
Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe has been appointed Visiting Professor of the InRC (International Research Centre) at University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.
Observations on Mars of dark, shiny rocks that appear similar to varnished surfaces have led to the question of whether manganese-enriched coatings could have formed on Mars. A paper presented to the 45th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (2014), N.L. Lanza … Read more
Article by Barry diGregorio As a Research Fellow for BCAB I routinely examine raw images coming in from the NASA Curiosity rover on Mars. Although there has been no official announcement by NASA’s rover team yet. I believe it has … Read more
Discovery of biological structures in the Anuradhapura meteorite: New results confirm life as a cosmic phenomenon
Unmistakably biological structures on the micrometre scale were discovered as an integral part of the interior structure of a meteorite that fell near Anuradhapura Sri Lanka (Thambuttegama) on 8 December 2013. Professor Wickramasinghe said that the new results give further … Read more
Professor Wickramasinghe was interviewed by Nancy du Tertre for the Hot Leads Cold Cases website. Listen to the interview.
Gil Levin, Honorary Professor at BCAB, demands that NASA release evidence of Martian life under Freedom of Information Act
The results of experiments that were recently conducted by the Mars Science Laboratory Rover “Curiosity” appear to be withheld for reasons that are best known only to NASA. Such results may be crucial for backing up evidence obtained by Gil … Read more
Continuing with their work on the isolation of life from space, Professors Milton Wainwright and Chandra Wickramasinghe have now reported the isolation, from the stratosphere, of a remarkable life form associated with a titanium sphere. Their results are published in … Read more
A team of scientists from BCAB and Sheffield sent a balloon 27 km into the stratosphere, which came back carrying small biological organisms which they believe must have originated in space. Their findings were reported in The Independent and the … Read more
On 12 September 2013, Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe was the Chief Guest at a joint meeting of the Ceylon College of Physicians and the Royal College of Physicians, London, held in Colombo. His speech was widely covered in the Sri Lankan … Read more
Barry DiGregorio’s article on “Neil Armstrong: First astrogeologist on the moon” was published in the August 2013 issue of Earth magazine. Mr DiGregorio explains how Armstrong was the first person to explore the geology of another planetary body, and how … Read more
A diatom frustule (fragment of a form of microscopic plant) was recovered from a height of 27km as it was falling to the surface of the Earth. This discovery made by a team of scientists led by Professor Milton Wainwright … Read more
In a new article, Barry DiGregorio, Honorary Research Fellow at BCAB, looks at how recent discoveries show that someone standing on the surface of Mars would see the planet as golden brown rather than red or orange, under a changing, … Read more
In an article published in vol.21 of the Journal of Cosmology, “Fossil diatoms in a new carbonaceous meteorite”, members of BCAB and colleagues report the discovery for the first time of fossilised diatoms in a carbonaceous meteorite that fell in … Read more
From mid-November to early December this year Sri Lanka witnessed a rare conjunction of natural phenomena, all pointing to the skies. Frequent sightings of meteors (probably the Leonids) were followed by numerous reports of fireballs, some of which actually resulted … Read more
Honorary Professor Gil Levin interprets discovery of complex organics on Mars by NASA’s Curiosity Rover as proof of present-day life on Mars
In an interview with New Scientist, Gil Levin says that a positive sign of organics by Curiosity would confirm his claim that NASA has already seen evidence for life on Mars – from an experiment called Labeled Release that went … Read more
Wickramasinghe, N.C., “DNA sequencing and predictions of the cosmic theory of life”, Astrophysics & Space Science 2012. DOI: 10.1007/s10509-012-1227-y The theory of cometary panspermia, developed by the late Sir Fred Hoyle and Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe, argues that life originated cosmically … Read more
In a paper given at the 2012 European Planetary Science Congress in Madrid, a group of scientists from Princeton and other American universities supported the possibility of life being transferred between planetary systems: Edward Belbruno, Amaya Moro-Martín, Renu Malhotra & … Read more
Life was first brought to Earth in the form of bacterial cells by comets nearly four billion years ago. The subsequent evolution from single-celled microbes to the marvellous tapestry of life we see today was dictated by later additions of … Read more
BCAB was strongly represented at an International Astrobiology Conference held in San Diego on 14-15 August 2012 as part of the 2012 SPIE Optics & Photonics Symposium. The speakers and participants included Buckingham’s Honorary Professors Gil Levin, Richard Hoover, Carl … Read more
A team of researchers including Barry DiGregorio of BCAB has published a paper in the journal Geomorphology 138 (2012), 339-351, entitled “Rock varnish in New York: An accelerated snapshot of accretionary processes” which demonstrates that manganese oxidising microbes are responsible … Read more
Press coverage in the Daily Telegraph (19 June 2012), The Nation (8 July 2012), The Island (8 July 2012), New Scientist (14 July 2012)
A full-page article by Tom Chivers, “Why the primordial soup may be an alien concoction”, gives very positive coverage of BCAB’s work and includes discussion with Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe. The article is available on the Daily Telegraph website. Dr Max … Read more
The interest in the recent transit of Venus on 5 June 2012 has focused mainly on its historical importance and on the possibility that a planet coming in front of a star could have an application in the detection of … Read more
In July 2011 a rare meteorite from Mars fell over the deserts of Morocco and was recovered fairly shortly afterwards in October at a location near the village of Tissint. This so-called Tissint meteorite was blasted off the surface of … Read more
Wickramasinghe, N.C., J. Wallis, D.H. Wallis, R.E. Schild & C.H. Gibson, “Life-bearing primordial planets in the solar vicinity”, Astrophysics and Space Science 341.2 (2012), 295-299. DOI: 10.1007/s10509-012-1092-8 Springer have issued the following press release for this new article by Professor … Read more
The theory of cometary panspermia was developed by Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe and the late Sir Fred Hoyle from the 1980s onwards. The Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation invited Prof. Wickramasinghe to deliver the inaugural lecture in a new series “Expanding Mind” … Read more
A report from Los Angeles by Walter Jayawardhana on recent articles by Professor Wickramasinghe and BCAB colleagues in the International Journal of Astrobiology and Journal of Cosmology was published on the Sri Lanka news website Onlanka News. The headline is: … Read more
Carbonaceous meteorites such as the Orgueil meteorite are generally thought to be relics of comets, after their volatiles dry out after many passages around the Sun. The possible existence of fossilised microorganisms in such extraterrestrial rocks has been debated over … Read more
Exactly 50 years ago Chandra Wickramasinghe and Fred Hoyle began their epic quest to unravel the nature of interstellar dust. In the process they overturned astronomical paradigms and effectively gave birth to the new discipline of astrobiology. Progress in this … Read more
Interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) containing carbonaceous-siliceous fibres and whiskers have been recovered from the upper stratosphere, some integrated into cometary agglomerate particles; coatings with salt and other components show aggregation on the comet. Two examples of fibres have also been … Read more
Volume 16 of the Journal of Cosmology is devoted to celebrating 30 years of the launching of the Hoyle-Wickramasinghe Theory of Cometary Panspermia, 10 years after the passing of Fred Hoyle. This historic issue is now on line at: http://journalofcosmology.com/JoC16pdfs/indexVol16CONTENTS.htm
Wickramasinghe, N.C., J.T. Wickramasinghe, J. Wallis, R.B. Hoover & A.Y. Rozanov, “Comets as parent bodies of CII carbonaceous meteorites and possible habitats of ice-microbes”, Proceedings of SPIE vol.8152 (October 2010). ISBN: 978-0-819-48762-9. Comets were regarded by many ancient cultures as … Read more
After a debate that has lasted for over three decades, recent studies of Comet 103P/Hartley2 by ESA’s Hershel Space Observatory suggest that comets were responsible for delivering water to form the Earth’s oceans, and possibly (in our view) life as … Read more
Chandra Wickramasinghe invites you to publish commentary on a co-authored paper, “Genetics Demonstrates Extra-Terrestrial Origin of Genetic Life and the First Gene” (to be published with neurobiologist Dr. R. Joseph, in the on line Journal of Cosmology). The article (which … Read more
Comet C/2010 X1 Elenin was discovered by a Russian astronomer in December 2010. Since then it has been the subject of intense irrational speculation, possibly linked to statements attributed to a Mayan calendar, forecasting destruction of our planet. All such … Read more
The red rain that fell over Kerala, India in 2001 and the vast quantity of orange particulates that were washed ashore on 3 August 2011 in Kivalina, Alaska (see photo above) are beginning to show remarkable parallels. An extraterrestrial source … Read more