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Advances in Astrophysics
AdAp > Volume 6, Number 1, February 2021

Neopanspermia – Evidence That Life Continuously Arrives at the Earth from Space

Download PDF  (1204.7 KB)PP. 6-18,  Pub. Date:February 24, 2021
DOI: 10.22606/adap.2021.61002

Author(s)
Milton Wainwright, N. Chandra Wickramasinghe, Gensuke Tokoro
Affiliation(s)
Centre for Astrobiology, University of Ruhuna, Matara, Sri Lanka; Institute for the Study of Panspermia and Astrobiology, Gifu, Japan.
Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology, University of Buckingham, UK; Centre for Astrobiology, University of Ruhuna, Matara, Sri Lanka; Institute for the Study of Panspermia and Astrobiology, Gifu, Japan; National Institute of Fundamental Studies, Kandy, Sri Lanka
Institute for the Study of Panspermia and Astrobiology, Gifu, Japan
Abstract
The theory of panspermia in a variety of forms remains an important theory to account for the origin of life on Earth and possibly also on other planetary bodies orbiting the “habitable zones” of stars. A form of panspermia we review here, that can be called neopanspermia, encapsulates the concept that a continuing infall of microbiota from space contributes both to the inception of life on Earth and its subsequent evolution. We discuss the development of the theory of panspermia and show how, over the past decade, we have used balloon-borne samplers (lofted to heights approaching 30km) to isolate unusual Biological Entities (BEs) which, we maintain, are continuously arriving at the Earth from space. These BEs are carbon-based, show bilateral symmetry, contain DNA and are in the range 10-40 micrometres in dimension. Their sizes are an order of magnitude higher than par-ticles (including bacteria and viruses) of terrestrial origin that are normally recovered in the strato-sphere. The fact that Earth-organisms (e.g. pollen grains, grass-shards and fungal spores) have not been found in our samples provides additional evidence that the isolated BEs originate from space and are of extraterrestrial provenance. We propose that such incoming microorganisms led to the emergence of life on the primitive Earth between 3.83 and 4 billion years ago and thereafter have continuously contributed to its evolution.
Keywords
Panspermia, astrobiology, comets, stratospheric microbiota
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