The confirmation of alien life on exoplanets may not arrive from exotic space missions, whiz bang robotic space probes, or even the derring-do of future astronauts. The proof of alien life might be discovered right here on Earth—inside a meteorite.
The Panspermia theory
The theory that life did not originate on Earth, or at least was helped along by extra-planetary objects, is called Panspermia. The theory proposes the vessels that brought life to Earth were meteors and comets.
The Northwestern University site, Scienceinsociety.com, reports that to test the possibility of the theory, "a study showed that bacterial spores could survive the extreme conditions of outer space for six years if they were protected from extraterrestrial solar UV radiation. This would be possible if the spores traveled within comets or meteorites."
Over the years, more astrophysicists and cosmologists have come to accept the possibility that Panspermia may be valid and could occur throughout the galaxy and the universe.
The Sri Lankan meteorite
The newest meteorite that contains tantalizing evidence that alien life exists on other planets was discovered in Sri Lanka. A team of researchers from Sri Lanka and the UK studied the space rock and found—what they claim—is fossilized algae buried deep inside. They published their results in a paper titled “Fossil Diatoms in a New Carbonaceous Meteorite” in the peer-reviewed Journal of Cosmology.
The paper created instant controversy in various scientific circles.
Lead author of the study, Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe, director of the Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology at the University of Buckingham, explained to the Huffington Post that, "We came to the conclusion that material similar to biomaterial fitted all the available data in astronomy. We considered the possibility that biology had a universal character, and no observations in astronomy or new information from biology has provided contrary evidence."
Wickramasinghe's claim has raised critical responses, some from the same group of biologists and astronomers that questioned the claim that vestiges of alien life were discovered in a Martian meteorite found on the bleak icecap at the South Pole.
Self-appointed science skeptic and sometimes debunker, astronomer Phil Plait of the website badastronomy.com, wrote in Slate: "There is not a single shred of evidence to back up this claim. Nothing. It could simply be a bit of black rock they found somewhere."
Others have raised questions about the rock. Is it really extraterrestrial? Some believe the fossilized algae were earthborn life and the researchers misidentified them.
Not true, Wickramasinghe counters. He says his team positively identified the rock as a meteorite and some of the various forms of algae are unknown. He also has his own criticism for those that speculate without the facts he and his team uncovered, and the penchant for some scientists to approach science in a pedestrian fashion instead of approaching knowledge like bold explorers.
“If only ideas that are considered orthodox are given support through award of grants or publication opportunities, it is certain that the progress of science will be stifled as it was throughout the middle ages,” Wickramasinghe cautioned.