Scientists find life coming to Earth from space

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PostFri Sep 20, 2013 5:55 am » by Willease

Scientists at a British university say they are confident they found evidence of life that originated in space.

Researchers at the University of Sheffield sent a scientific balloon into the stratosphere — often described as the edge of space — during a Perseid meteor shower, which collected small organisms they believe are not from Earth.

“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, 27km. The only known exception is by a violent volcanic eruption, none of which occurred within three years of the sampling trip,” professor Milton Wainwright said in a statement.

One of the organisms the researchers believe to be from space. (Photo: University of Sheffield/Journal of Cosmology)

“In the absence of a mechanism by which large particles like these can be transported to the stratosphere we can only conclude that the biological entities originated from space. Our conclusion then is that life is continually arriving to Earth from space, life is not restricted to this planet and it almost certainly did not originate here.”

If this is in fact the case, Wainwright said it would “change our view of biology and evolution.”

“New textbooks will have to be written!” he added.

The researchers collected samples from the stratosphere by sending up a balloon like this. (Photo via University of Sheffield)

The balloon launched 27 kilometers (16.7 miles) had microscope studs, which only became exposed after the balloon reached a certain height. Wainwright said the researchers took precautions with the design to prevent contamination of the samples.

When the balloon returned to ground and scientists reviewed the data, they saw what the university press release described as “a diatom fragment and some unusual biological entities from the stratosphere.”

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