Sunday, June 04, 2006

Red Rain! Red Rain!

Wouldn't it be cool if this were true?

Godfrey Louis, who twenty-five years ago co-authored the original paper on panspermia - the idea that bacteria from outer space originally seeded life on earth - is investigating the mysterious "blood rains" that have been falling over Kerala, India for some years now.

Louis has discovered that the strange cell-like structures that are giving the rain its name are thick-walled, red-tinted, live in extreme temperatures, and seem to reproduce despite lacking any DNA. His theory - they're from outer space.

This certainly makes more sense to me that rival theory that a meteor pulverized a cloud of high flying bats. But what interests me is my own reaction to this: the mixture of hope and serious doubt that this time will be the one. I believe in life on other worlds, but don't think it's ever been here. I believe life existed on Mars, but am not sure we've proved that yet. Panspermia makes a lot of sense, so why couldn't this be evidence of it? As we continue to explore our own solar system and the universe at large, at some point it's inevitable that we will encounter something other, even if its just bacteria on a jovian moon, so when are things going to tip from we're all alone to no we're not?


Jess Nevins said...

I for one welcome our DNA-lacking cellular overlords.

Jose said...

I believe there is a strong case for them being algal spores

We covered this last april and we were very excited by the story but I wouldn't hold out too much hope on this one turning out to be ET.

Lou Anders said...

Thanks, Jose. Makes sense to me.

A.R.Yngve said...

If they can reproduce under extreme circumstances, and are very hard to kill... what prevents them from covering the entire planet?

We're all doomed! Doomed, I say! Doomed, in case you didn't hear me the last time!

Jose said...

I wouldn't worry about ET microbes (I suspect you're not). If they do exsist then its most likely that this planet is subjected to them constantly and we're still here.