The truth IS out there (above Cheshire, that is): British scientists claim to have found proof of alien life

Life on Mars? No, say scientists, it’s floating 27km above Chester

A team of British scientists is convinced it has found proof of alien life, after it harvested strange particles from the edge of space.

The scientists sent a balloon 27km into the stratosphere, which came back carrying small biological organisms which they believe can only have originated from space.

Professor Milton Wainwright told The Independent that he was "95 per cent convinced" that the organisms did not originate from earth.

"By all known information that science has, we know that they must be coming in from space," he said. "There is no known mechanism by which these life forms can achieve that height. As far as we can tell from known physics, they must be incoming."

Some of the samples were captured covered with cosmic dust, adding further credence to the idea that they have originated from space.

"The organisms are not usual," said Professor Wainwright, who works at the University of Sheffield’s Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. "If they came from earth, we would expect to see stuff that we find on earth commonly, like pollen."

"We're very, very confident that these are biological entities originating from space," he said, acknowledging that absolutely certainty is hard to achieve in science.

The team believes that the entities are coming from comets, which are big balls of ice shooting through space. The samples were collected during a meteorite shower from a comet. As they hit the earth's atmosphere, the comets melt - ablate, to give it a technical term - releasing the organisms as they break down.

"The particles are very clean," added Prof Wainwright. "They don't have any dust attached to them, which again suggests they're not coming to earth. Similarly, cosmic dust isn't stuck to them, so we think they came from an aquatic environment, and the most obvious aquatic environment in space is a comet.

"They're very unusual beasts, not your normal kind of life from earth."

The organisms are 'very unusual' (University of Sheffield)  

The organisms are probably not alive, but, excitingly, probably do contain DNA. Similar ones harvested during an earlier experiment have contained the chemical, which is one of the fundamental building blocks of life on earth.

The fact that they contain DNA is probably one of the most exciting aspects to this discovery, as it is a big hint that life on earth may itself have extraterrestrial origins.

"If we're right, it means that there's life in space, and it's coming to earth. It means that life on earth probably originated in space," said Professor Wainwright. "Statistically, there's no reason why life should originate on earth. There are billions and billions of comets, but most biologists are stuck on earth.

"The earth is an open system with biology raining down on it as we speak.

"It's almost too amazing to believe."

He scotched the theory that the life forms arrived in the upper atmosphere after being blasted there from a volcano.

"The last volcano was three years ago, and the matter has all been deposited by now," he said.

Professor Wainwright’s team is hoping to extend and confirm their results by carrying out the test again in October to coincide with the upcoming Halley’s Comet-associated meteorite shower when there will be large amounts of cosmic dust. It is hoped that more new, or unusual, organisms will be found.

The group’s findings have been published in the Journal of Cosmology and updated versions will appear in the same journal, a new version of which will be published in the near future. Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe of the Buckingham University Centre for Astrobiology also gave a presentation of the group’s findings at a meeting of astronomers and astrobiologists in San Diego last month.

Could life on earth have come from outer space? (University of Sheffield)

Despite these fantastical claims, the Journal of Cosmology has had its reputation called into question more than once by other members of the scientific community.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing