Talk:Red rain in Kerala

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Good article Red rain in Kerala has been listed as one of the Natural sciences good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
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High traffic

On 2 September 2010, Red rain in Kerala was linked from Slashdot, a high-traffic website. (See visitor traffic)

Multiplication?[edit]

Sorry if this is in the wrong place, but - I was reading about the 'red rain' phenomenon a while back and I remember reading about how these 'cells' or 'particles' started to multiply when presented with extremely high temperatures. Is there any information on this? Should there be? Does anyone have a source? I think it was at the Cardiff University's page on this "red rain". Tanru 16:44, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

Try a search on Google for Jack Szostak. He and his colleagues have been doing research on physical replication of vesicles of organic chemicals in the prescence of clay. This is much more interesting than the spores from space ideas. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Davy p (talkcontribs) 05:25, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Please explain[edit]

I don`t get it. Can someone please explain to me how hard it is to dry them and do an isotope analysis for let`s say two or three of the most significant elements, especially since i actually know that this process usually doesn`t take much longer than about a day. So what`s the hold up???Slicky 15:01, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Oh ho, very true. I made a similar point over on Panspermia about the red rain. Basically there are a few extremely unreliable sources being used to bouy up a lot of statements made during a fad a few months back in July when the subject was featured in a "pop science" magazine. The entire subject seems to have been dropped, and alas noone cares to write articles titled "We were completely wrong about the Red Rain". I think we should crack down on the reliability of the sources, and cut out some of the bogus claims. Jefffire 17:47, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
Never mind isotope analysis, no one seems to have used chromatography (GC-MS or other forms) to see what compounds are in the particles. Except for an assumption in Louis's first paper on arXiv of a value of 1.5, there doesn't even seem to be any attempt to measure the specific gravity of the particles or that of the shell/core. All that this would require at its simplest is a test-tube and some concentrated sugar or salt solution and a bit of patience.Davy p 20:19, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
Chromatography ie. HPLC is a point. The DNA analysis in their Astrophys Space Sci paper is completely inconclusive. Spores pack DNA very thoroughly in protein. How about Urea extraction and protein electrophoresis? Mechanical crushing and freezing does not even disrupt living cells completely. Ethidium Bromide just shows enhanced Nucleic Acid flourescence if it is able to intercalade. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 130.133.8.114 (talk) 01:49, August 27, 2007 (UTC)

Critics[edit]

Sorry if this is not the proper way to add my comment, but this is my first time writing in Wikipedia. I am astonished how most of you accept this "research" without any critics. There is no evidence whatsoever that those particles are alive. I checked several papers of Godfrey Louis on Arxiv.org, and I think his whole theory is at least doubtful.

The elemental composition of the particles clearly indicates that it is of inorganic origins. On pics it looks like sand dust. There is no picture where we could actually see these things moving or dividing.

If this were really extraterrestial life thousands of scientist were already studying them. In contrast, Mr. Luis has published only on Arxiv.org, where anyone can publish his/her papers without control.

Best regards, B.Zoltan, Hungary.

I hear your concerns and agree with them. This is a topic where normal scientific methods tend to get overlooked, and as a result the article has a tendency to fill with pseudoscience. Keeping it in line with Wikipedia's policies is an ongoing challenge and one which does become quite tiring. Jefffire 14:53, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Found or not?[edit]

I'm slightly puzzled in terms of proofs here. In the paragraph below, the wiki article states that the red rain was 'found' (ie) proven to be algal in origin (and later this is restated in longer form under 'Initial Reports'). If it was thus proven, what then lead to the later speculation of other origins ? Either the initial report was incorrect, or there was some doubt in the diagnosis, or it was correct and the other speculations are non-scientific loony hypotheses. The article doesn't state why was the original report was questioned (if it was), but just launches into other speculations on origin. Why did people look further into this than the initial report's answers, which, the way the article reads, were very definite of a straight forward terrestial origin ? If the Gov of India's report had reservations in its summation, this should be stated (it would explain why people offered other theories). If the Gov of India report is so definite in its conclusion, then an explanation is needed as to why people doubted it (sorry I haven't read the report in question). That is, as the wiki artcle stands, it is unclear (at least to this poor user) as why 'found' ≠ proven here.

"...initially ... but the the Government of India commissioned a study which found the rains had been coloured by spores from a locally prolific aerial algae. Then in early 2006, the coloured rains of Kerala ... are extraterrestrial cells ..." PS the reference to the Gov of India study could do with a date added, to add context to initial and then in. When was this report published ?

The Yeti 02:26, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

The CESS report, 'Coloured Rain: A report of the phenomenon', is dated November 2001. It has 'Distribution Statement: Limited Circulation' on its documentation page.
Some of the reasons why this doesn't appear to be the end of the matter include reservations by the authors about how an actual algal bloom onset could be so sudden and how large quantities of spores could become airborne during the night prior to the first red rainfall; each of which is substantial problem for the hypothesis. Equally the 1% aluminium that they found in the stuff isn't consistent with spores; neither is the 7.5% silica that they report, though this isn't directly addressed in the report. It's not impossible that there are pressures on (non-loony) academics in India just as there are elsewhere.
As I've mentioned elsewhere on Talk pages, the use of GC-MS could have been expected quite early on and could have been expected to nail the matter quite conclusively. Even now no chromatographic analysis has appeared, at least I haven't been able to find any trace.
The CESS report did conclude that trentepohlia was the cause, but didn't 'prove' it, so it's appropriate to use the word 'found'. The initial official explanation had been that the raindust came from a meteor travelling west to east. As the red rain continued, this obviously didn't wash (pardon the pun ;) Davy p 01:14, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply. However, I have to disagree in saying it's appropriate to use the word 'found', as when I read the word 'found' I mentally read this as 'proven'. This part of the article (& initial reports) needs to be rewritten to make it clear that the conclusions were only a hypothesis & therefore open to interpretation/doubt, rather than implying a conclusive answer had been agreed on  ; and also stating the problems with their hypothesis (some of which you've stated above. I mean, one would've thought they would know with fair certainty whether the red rain was straight forward algae or not, but apparently is isn't so obvious after all). In other words, the wiki article doesn't make clear it why people went and looked futher into this.
Let me put it this way, if a reputable scientific body had said 'yep, this mysterious stuff, we've looked into it, and are pretty certain its nothing special', most other scientists would just nod their heads, and get on with soemthing else. Except in this case, they didn't. Why ? The Yeti 20:02, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
But most scientists did nod their heads and get on with something else after the CESS findings. The fact that Louis and Kumar didn't does not mean most scientists doubted the findings of CESS. 151.200.214.162 09:44, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

Paranormal?[edit]

I noticed the revert war going on, and I'm inclined to respectfully disagree with the current inclusion of this article in the parnormal wikiproject. The only area of the wikiproject where this might fit under would be crytozoology, and that is a stretch because cryptozoology is related to life forms whose existance is unclear. Whatever this is (life form or not) exists. It thus would fall under astrobiology, which has a considerably more secure scientific backing. The inclusion of the paranormal tag does end up pushing a POV agenda (even though I sincerely doubt this was the intent). Could someone provide me with further justification for why this fits within the wikiproject? Irongargoyle 00:37, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

More than happy to. Out of neccesity, WP:PARA is a bit of a hodgepodge. Don't let the title fool you; I in no way think that this article is 'paranormal' in the least, nor is the banner meant to imply that. However, the project has chosen as part of its scope to include articles on extraterrestrial life, from the weird and out there to the ones with solid scientific backing (like panspermia). We have no agenda, I assure you; just want to make sure that articles such as this are getting attended to. So, to reiterate: the tag, and the project, are not trying to make any sort of statement; we just want to make sure this article has some more eyes on it (it's a great article, btw, and kudos to its contributors. Normally, I'd say something here about how we can help clean up articles, but here, I think the best we could do is help with vandalism patrol). --InShaneee 03:55, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
Might I suggest that therein lies the problem. A "paranormal" project should focus on things generally considered pseudoscience (not that some things considered pseudoscience today might not be found to have merit in the future), but should I think leave fringe science (like panspermia) to the general science Wikiprojects. In this case, Wikipedia:WikiProject Microbiology would I think have the most appropriate specialization. Wouldn't you agree that writing about the "red rain" phenomenon requires a rather different expertise than writing about the ancient astronaut theory? Of course, if some of you at the Paranormal wikiproject are especially interested in the more "mainstream" aspect of this topic, you could always form an astrobiology wikiproject, which I would be very happy with.--Pharos 04:19, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
Again, please don't let the name fool you; we've become a 'swiss army project' sort of out of neccesity. We DO deal with mainstream topics all the time; our current collaboration deals with a quite well known hoax, for starters. While the Microbiology project will probably want to claim this article, it is neither unusual nor unwanted for two wikiprojects to claim the same article. As I said before, we have no agenda here, and aren't planning to 'alien up' this article any. Astrobiology is a part of our scope, so we just wanted to tag it as such. --InShaneee 04:30, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
Out of what necessity has your project spread itself beyond what it describes itself as? As I said in one of my edit summaries, change the name of your project if it covers mainstream science. Don't slap your paranormal tag on articles which have nothing to do with the paranormal. And I'm sure you needn't worry about this article being maintained, as two other projects already claim it. The simple fact is that this has nothing to do with the paranormal, and therefore, it does not come under the remit of 'wikiproject paranormal'.
I would like to bring to everyone's attention that I was blocked for 24 hours by InShaneee, presumably because he wanted to prevent me expressing my opinion here and hoped that everyone would support his view. He accused me of vandalism ([1]) - I challenge him and anyone else to specify which of my edits can possibly be considered vandalism. It's extraordinary that someone would go to such lengths to claim an article for 'their' project. 81.178.208.69 23:45, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
" A "paranormal" project should focus on things generally considered pseudoscience " From what I see there are quite a few "paranormal" explinations for the red-rains. The "Extraterrestrial hypothesis" section makes this article within the scope we have outlined for the project... and despite the presense of non-paranormal explinations, the first many people thing of is the paranormal. ---J.S (T/C) 23:48, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
You're not really understanding the situation then. The evidence for life on Mars found in ALH84001 does not make that object 'paranormal'. The evidence for life in comets that some say the red rain in Kerala provides similarly has nothing to do with the paranormal. Change your project name if you want to cover this article - don't call it paranormal when it's not. And don't get your admins to block people with offensive lying claims that they are vandals, just because they don't want your tag on an article where it's not appropriate. Excuse me if I'm not writing with much diplomatic intent here but I'm absolutely livid that I was blocked by someone so petty and childish over something so trivial. And by the way, it's 'explanation', not 'explination'. Worldtraveller 00:19, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
Ah, there you go, I've accidentally outed myself. Worldtraveller 00:21, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
Real maturity I'm seeing here... Whatever, if you want to own your little article, I'll leave you too it. ---J.S (T/C) 07:44, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
My edit fixes the odd alteration you made to Worldtraveller's sig above.--MONGO 13:41, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Um. J.smith, are you saying that blocking somebody for removing a WikiProject template because he didn't think it applied is not taking ownership of an article? - A Link to the Past (talk) 20:45, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

FA?[edit]

As the article has stabilited quite a bit and is well written, any thoughts on making it featured? Peer review first, maybe? -Runningonbrains 00:53, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

I wouldn't think it was FA material really. Having just read it, I come away not really having any conclusive idea what the rain was. Richard001 01:01, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

FA (2)[edit]

I am proposing that (per discussion with raul) this article is made into a featured article in time for april fools day, would anyonebeinterested in helping with it? RyanPostlethwaiteSee the mess I've created or let's have banter 14:17, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

I reckon I could have this featurable by Sunday. Although I am thoroughly disillusioned I feel like writing just one more FA. Seeing as I started the article I might as well finish the job on it. Worldtraveller 16:05, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Wow[edit]

This is a fascinating and well-written article. Kudos to all writers involved! --Hemlock Martinis 18:57, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

Usage of "sic"[edit]

One sentence reads "Wickramasinghe has reported on the 30th of March 2006 that “work in progress has yielded [sic] positive for DNA”.[19]" I see nothing in that sentence that merits the usage of sic; I'd guess that whoever initially inserted the quotation thought that "yielded" was spelled incorrectly, which it is not. vedantm 21:22, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

The cited link has it misspelled as "yeilded". Someone must have edited the article to "correct" the quotation. I'll change it back to the original. Mgiganteus1 21:28, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

Wait a second[edit]

This was initially recognized as an airborne algae which had done similar things before, except one physicist said that it might be pansperm, and his friends said it didn't have any DNA, but the labs said it did? Um. Please to remove the entire panspermia speculation section. ←BenB4 13:11, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

I believe the point was that one test did not show DNA, a later (different) test gave a positive result, but that result cannot be considered conclusive (because the test is not definitive?), so the question of whether there is DNA present is unresolved; the panspermia speculation is in fact the entire point of this article.

Joke?[edit]

Is this article a joke? No offence! Amit 08:23, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

Where does it sound like one? --soum talk 08:55, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
Um, gee, I don't know, like maybe the part claiming the rains were colored by extraterrestrial spores. Me thinks someone's been watching too much SciFi! 4.249.117.209 (talk) 07:55, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Cleanup[edit]

Article needs to be cleaned up in teh referencing, per GA? Blnguyen (bananabucket) 02:59, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

So, what's it?[edit]

I've read it, and also a few of those external links. But... What are those red cells actually? Are they dust all along? Cells hiding their DNA? Algal Spores? DNA-less multiplicating cells? Alien-cells? Wobster (talk) 18:01, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Almost certainly not alien cells. If there was any hint that these particles could be indications of life outside Earth, where are the masses of reports from the various space agencies like NASA or ESA? This might seem a bit cynical, but what better way to boost your budget for space exploration than to find evidence of extraterrestrial life? Also, the few chemists, biochemists or biologists who have examined the material say it is likely of Earth origins, the only scientists who say otherwise are physicists. One could reasonably exect that in six and a half years if there was anything of real interest in this "red rain" it would have been found by now or have been the subject of more extensive study. Colored rain is not that uncommon. See [2] or search Google.
This article gives too much weight to the opinions of a few people supporting controversial theories. According to Carl Sagan "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". IMHO there is no evidence for the claims made in the latter part of this article. Silverchemist (talk) 05:26, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
In my view, the whole extraterrestrial hypothesis section needs to be re-written into evidence-based form (there basically isn't any evidence) and toned down. The protodomain section in particular is speculative and repetitious and way over length, and should mainly refer elsewhere.Plantsurfer (talk) 07:55, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
Why hasn't the species been identified yet? And are the claims of a stupendous noise preceding these rainstorms unimportant? I strongly disbelieve these were alien but I'm unsatisfied as to where the science on this has ended up. This article left me with far more questions than answers and a distaste in my mouth seeing how scientists have abandoned all witnesses to this very unique case of colored rain. 108.16.61.129 (talk) 03:52, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
The genus is Trentepohlia. Only commercial/industrial and medically significant microorganisms are identified to the species level. Regarding the noise, most storms produce lightning and thunder, which are sonic booms. Would you scramble astrobiologists every time you hear thunder? Scientists did not "abandoned all witnesses", they dealt with FACTS: identified the spores and extracted their DNA. Wickramasinghe's claims did not meet the normal scientific requirements and substance, so peer-reviews were not favorable. His "publications" were relegated to newspapers, letters and simposiums. The colored rain is not unique, and was shown to be a natural local seasonal ocurrence. BatteryIncluded (talk) 15:38, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

what is result?[edit]

  • where is result information ? alien or no ? Berserkerus (talk) 16:22, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
There is no more information. This article reports the latest information available. That fact that nothing new has been reported in two years is very damning. The home page of Dr. Godfrey Louis, the author of the paper that rekindled interest in the red rain, which was updated on 2008-04-10 [3], has nothing more recent than the 2006 article. Dr. Louis, who switched universities in October 2006, lists his current research as being "in the area of experimental Solid State Physics, Electronic Instrumentation and computer based Instrumentation" with a "special interest" in solving the red rain phenonomen. Ask this question: "If you had good evidence for extraterrestrial life, the discovery of the millenium, would you be working on electronic instrumentation?" and "Where is the work from other scientists?" It has been almost seven years since the red rain fell. Since that time we have sampled dust from a comet and started exploring Mars, but no one reports anything about these supposedly alien cells which fell right in our own backyard!? IMHO, the most likely explanation is that nothing unusual was found and anyone involved would prefer that the whole issue would just go away. Unfortunately, this article in Wikipedia keeps the issue alive despite the lack of any supporting evidence.Silverchemist (talk) 17:42, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
Regrettably :( Tnx for answer Berserkerus (talk) 09:04, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
As of 2013, there are new evidences from 2010 and 2012, so nothing is settled, but the research goes on, I may say. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 77.5.212.237 (talk) 22:31, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

GA Sweeps Review: On Hold[edit]

As part of the WikiProject Good Articles, we're doing sweeps to go over all of the current GAs and see if they still meet the GA criteria. I'm specifically going over all of the "Meteorology and atmospheric sciences" articles. I believe the article currently meets the majority of the criteria and should remain listed as a Good article. However, in reviewing the article, I have found there are some issues that need to be addressed. I have made minor corrections and have included several points below that need to be addressed for the article to remain a GA. Please address them within seven days and the article will maintain its GA status. If progress is being made and issues are addressed, the article will remain listed as a Good article. Otherwise, it may be delisted. If improved after it has been delisted, it may be nominated at WP:GAN. To keep tabs on your progress so far, either strike through the completed tasks or put checks next to them.

Needs a fair use rationale to include this image in the article:

Needs inline citations:

  • Yes check.svg Done"One such case occurred in England in 1903, when dust was carried from the Sahara and fell with rain in February of that year."
  • Yes check.svg Done"Another theory is that the rain contained mammalian blood, a large flock of bats having been killed at high altitude, perhaps by a meteor"
  • Yes check.svg Done"Chemical analyses indicate that they consist of organic material, and so they proposed that the particles may be microbes of extraterrestrial origin"
  • Yes check.svg Done"Louis and Kumar suggest that this was caused by the disintegration of a small comet entering the Earth's atmosphere, and that this comet contained large quantities of the red particles"

Yes check.svg DoneAdditionally, the tag in the external links section needs to be addressed.

This article covers the topic well and if the above issues are addressed, I believe the article can remain a GA. I will leave the article on hold for seven days, but if progress is being made and an extension is needed, one may be given. I will leave messages on the talk pages of the main contributors to the article along with related WikiProjects so that the workload can be shared. If you have any questions, let me know on my talk page and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Happy editing! --Nehrams2020 (talk) 20:50, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

The TEM image of the single grain is quite relevant to the article. I have added source details as requested on Wickramasinghe's web page.
The SEM image, from Louis & Kumar's paper, appears to be rather anomalous. The size of the particles shown in this image is uniform, at about 10 um, rather than variable, 4 to 10 um, as described elsewhere, and they are dimpled rather than smooth and rounded as described elsewhere. L & K's paper mentions the anomaly, but does not go into any great detail. It would make the article less confusing if this image were to be removed.
The image showing red coloured water in buckets, Red rain Kerala.jpg, is relevant, because it makes clear at a glance the possibility that culture of Trentepohlia from samples could have been the result of contamination rather than that Trentepohlia spores were the cause of the redness.
Image:Red rain Kerala optical microscope.jpg provides the clearest picture of what these particles actually look like; and their appearance is consistent with the descriptions given both by Louis & Kumar and by the CESS. Hence it is vital. Well it's vital unless the intention it to deliberately slant this article. Davy p (talk) 03:11, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
I've tried to address the above concerns. I hope it meets the requirements now. Cheers! Mspraveen (talk) 04:07, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
I oppose the GA rating for this article as it stands. While it may satisfy the mechanics of Wikipedia, eg. citations and free images, the content is substandard. The propagation of largely unsupported conjecture should not be part of Wikipedia. A significant part of the article reflects the views of a very limited number of proponents. If it were not for the hypothesis (not a theory!) proposed by a physicist and his graduate student the whole "red rain" topic would be a minor, local mystery. Louis and Kumar made some amazing claims in unreviewed web postings. For example, they "published" a paper in 2003 entitled "New biology of red rain extremophiles prove cometary panspermia" [4], but never made this claim nor presented its supporting evidence in any peer-reviewed, reputable scientific publication. IMHO given the time elapsed and the lack of any further work (see my post in "what is result" above) it is becoming increasingly less likely that the definative explanation for the red rain phenonomen will be forthcoming. The Wikipedia article should state the facts, relying on articles published at the time of the event, not several years later, then the in point form, with minimal bias or additional comments, list the various hypotheses.Silverchemist (talk) 15:31, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
The above issues I have raised have been fixed although several editors have listed additional issues about the content of the article. I am no expert on the topic, and consider the current state to be sufficient in providing a broad overview of the topic. I see that Silverchemist believes that the article should be shifted to more prior information, and that can still occur after I pass the article. Do the main editors of this article still believe that there are any major issues with this article concerning the topic that I should take into consideration before passing the article, or do you see it to be sufficient now? --Nehrams2020 (talk) 23:17, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I have done some work rearranging the article to separate the factual part from the hypotheses, but now I come to the extraterrestrial sections, which I suspect may generate more discussion. The references in these sections are in need of cleanup. There are duplicates, inaccurate ascriptions and formatting inconsistencies. I will try to fix these and keep the tone as NPOV as possible. Right now there is a lot of duplication in the extraterrestrial section that needs to be fixed. I suspect this arose over time as many editors made contributions. The Proto-domain hypothesis should not be here. IMHO the connection is too tenuous: if the red rain was due to a meteor or comet and if the red particles were cells lacking DNA then maybe it supports a highly controversial theory. It belongs elsewhere, perhaps in the Panspermia article. Please be patient with the process and I think this article will be eligible for GA status soon. Silverchemist (talk) 17:56, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
I have removed the Proto-domain section per Wikipedia:Fringe theories. This hypothesis has very limited support. It is not even covered in the Wikipedia article on panspermia. If it belongs anywhere it is in the panspermia article. If someone wants to move it to that article, I have made that section self-contained with respect to the references (as of June 4, 2008. IMHO the article may now be suitable for GA status. Silverchemist (talk) 22:48, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

GA Sweeps Review: Pass[edit]

I too believe the article currently meets the criteria and should remain listed as a Good article. I have made several minor corrections throughout the article. Altogether the article is well-written and looks good after addressing the above issues. Continue to improve the article making sure all new information is properly sourced and neutral. It would also be beneficial to go through the article and update all of the access dates of the inline citations and fix any dead links. If you have any questions, let me know on my talk page and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. I have updated the article history to reflect this review. Happy editing! --Nehrams2020 (talk) 01:00, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Trentepohlia spores[edit]

There are a lot of whacky, unsubstantiated ideas in this article. From a scientific perspective the discussion about the particles possibly being Trentepohlia spores requires the following evidence just to get off the starting blocks:

  • An authentic image of Trentepohlia spores. So far there is no information on what they look like, but the article is attributing red rain to their presence. Can they be confirmed to have the same colour and morphology as the red rain particles?
  • Cited evidence that they can be liberated into the air in sufficient abundance. I personally think this is implausible, but at the very least that fact would require a citation.
  • Cited comparison of the colour of Trentepohlia spores and the 'red rain' particles. I am familiar with the alga Trentepohlia in the British Isles, and I can't help noticing that its filaments are not the same blood-red colour as shown in the red rain images, but bright orange, the colour of carrots, not surprisingly, because the pigment responsible is carotene.

Frankly, until this article is consistently presenting facts that would stand scrutiny in the primary school classroom it does not deserve GA, let alone FA status. FW (fantasy world) might be nearer the mark at present. Plantsurfer (talk) 10:28, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Have a look at Figure 6 in the CESS report. It supposedly shows spores of Trentepohlia culturede from lichens collected from trees in Kerala. They look exactly like the red rain particles. Silverchemist (talk) 05:56, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Hmm... "exactly like the red rain particles"? The best that can be said is that they look similar.
Use Stokes's law to calculate the settling time of 4-12 um spores in water and see if this agrees with CESS's reported time of "several houre". Davy p (talk) 09:17, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
The only mention I could find in the CESS report of settling time was in the abstract where it was noted that the solids settled after several hours. There are too many details missing to do a meaningful calculation; how many hours, height of the water column, water temperature, etc. Am I correct in assuming you would like to see if the density of the particles is similar to that of spores (which assumes we have a good value for that parameter). Silverchemist (talk) 14:52, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Plantsurfer pointed out shortcomings in the Trentepohlia hypothesis with which I agree. It seems to me to indicate a somewhat limited scientific investigation that the CESS did not measure the particles' relative density (which would clearly differentiate between, say, spores, sand, iron oxide particles etc.). Or, if they did then they failed to report their finding. To measure the density would seem a fairly obvious and easy thing to do with almost any unknown insoluble material. Nevertheless, from their published settling time of several hours etc. and using Stokes's law to calculate settling times for particles in the range 4 to 10 um it is possible to glean additional diagnostic information. This alone is sufficient to convince me that the CESS report is flawed. I hope that others may also take the trouble to do the sums and make plausible estimates where necessary. Davy p (talk) 02:13, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
I tried doing the calculations assuming that wtaer was at 20 C and settling times from 1 to3 hours, depth of the container from 10 to 30 cm and particles from 4 to 10 microns. The density of the particles could be anywhere from 1.04 to almost 3 g/cm3, depending on the combination of parameters used. The elemental analyses done by both CESS and Louis rule out inorganic materials as the main constituent of the sediment. Silverchemist (talk) 04:33, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

To have found settling times between 1 hr and 3 hrs it looks as though your sums have gone wrong somewhere. The settling velocity, assuming Stokes's law for a sphere falling in a uniform fluid medium applies, is proportional to the square of their diameter (so a range 4 to 10 um will give min/max velocities in the ratio 16:100; about 1:6). It's also proportional to the difference of density between the sphere and the medium (so, assuming the water has a specific density of 1.0, particle density differences in the range 1.04 - 1.0 to 3.0 - 1.0 give a min/max velocity ratio of 0.04 to 2.0 or about 1:50). So the ratio of settling velocities for the least dense smallest particles to the most dense largest ones within your chosen range will be about 0.04 * 16 to 2.0 * 100, i.e. about 300:1 over a given distance. Davy p (talk) 20:31, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

My calculations are correct. Given the settling times and distances (which give settling speeds ranging from 0.0009 to 0.008 cm/sec) and particle sizes of 4 and 10 microns I calculated the corresponding densities. If I put the extremes of the densities and particle sizes into Stokes equation sure I get the large range you suggest, but what does that prove? Are you questioning the particle sizes, the composition (the density range for materials composed of CHNO is rather small) or the fact that the particles settled as described? I don't mind these discussions, but I like to know where its going. The composition of the particles, as measured by three different methods by two different groups, rules out ash or dust since the inorganic content is very low. Even the CESS work, which looked at the entire sediment, found less than 15% by weight inorganic materials (elements other than CHNO usually found in biological samples).Silverchemist (talk) 23:18, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Sorry if I seemed confusing; I hadn't intended to be. Having done back-of-envelope sums, I had used a spreadheet to calculate terminal settling velocity for two ranges: diameters of 4, 6, 8 and 10 um and specific densities 1.15, 1.5 and 2.5. The value of 1.15 was chosen as a reasonable upper limit for spores. My calculated values range between 1.5 and 91.9 um per second. Actual settling velocities will be slightly lower because the particles are non-spherical. Translating velocities into settling times over a distance of 150 mm gives times for 10 um and 4 um particles of 0.5 and 2.8 hours with density = 2.5; and between 4.5 and 28.4 hours with density = 1.15. Each of these densities thus appears to settle at rates significantly outside the stated settling time of "several hours". This seems to me to offer useful diagnostic information and, given the requirement to differentiate between (live or dead) organic material, sand and something else unknown, it is somewhat surprising that no measurements of specific density are mentioned in the CESS report. Louis's value for density of 1.5 appears correct, though his papers also have serious flaws. This doesn't indicate what the particles are, but they certainly don't seem to be spores or sand. Davy p (talk) 02:35, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

I see where you are coming from, but it seems to me that the chemical analyses (by numerous methods and groups (CESS, Louis and possibly Brenna) are the most credible data we have on the composition of the particles. Elements heavier than oxygen constitute at most 14% by weight of the solids. One possible explanation for the settling times shorter than you calculations would indicate is that the particles were agglomerated to some extent. There is one comment in [5] which talks about alga in water froming "mucilaginous masses resembling drops of blood". The CESS report does talk about debris in the settled solids. Silverchemist (talk) 23:10, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Louis includes brief mention of a mucilage-like layer, but, as I recall, specifically in relation to the SEM images. (Perhaps something like this came into some of the stories that were told in connection with allusions to menstruation.) Elsewhere, his description of the particles is that under optical microscopy they are smooth and shiny. Possibly the particles did agglomerate but a) in the images in the CESS paper at least a proportion of the particles are separated; b) for the CESS investigator to need to let them settle, presumably something must have unsettled them, such as pouring or shaking, which would unclump them; c) Louis's reported value of 1.5 doesn't require an auxiliary hypothesis to support it and, despite his wacky hypothesis, there is no obvious reason why he should have fabricated this figure.

Although, as you note, elements heavier than oxygen constitute no more than 14%, given the high overall oxygen content these are likely to have been completely oxidised. Hence the proportion by weight of 'high density' constituents would be greater than the 14% by weight of the heavier elements alone. Aluminium, for example, with an atomic weight 27, combined with one and a half oxygen molecules would have a molecular weight of 51. Equally, some of the calcium could be as carbonate.

It is difficult to know how to assess the proportion of Si. CESS report this as 'silica' and give a somewhat higher value than does Louis. Also, I wasn't able to see any mention in the CESS report of whether their tables of major and trace elements are by weight or elemental proportions. But an overall relative density of 1.5 doesn't seem unfeasible on the basis of elemental composition. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Davy p (talkcontribs) 21:51, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Elemental analyses are usually (if not always) reported as either weight percent or ppm. The CESS analyses may be higher in heavier elements because they analyzed "the dried sediment" rather than the just the red particles which Louis examined. CESS commented that the sediment was about 10% debris (insoluble inorganic material?). The mention of "silica" in the elemental analysis is probably a misprint for "silicon" since the technique used quantifies the element, not its compounds. If one assumes that the metals are present as silicates (which would be the case if the inorganics were Silicate minerals usually found in clay and soil) and excess silicon is there as silica (sand), then the CESS sample would contain about 26% inorganics by weight (if they were there as carbonates the % would be lower). The sample analyzed by Louis would have a considerably lower inorganic content.Silverchemist (talk) 05:21, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

In Louis's third paper.he labels a Ca peak in the EDAX spectrum but doesn't include Ca in the corresponding table of constituents. This would bring the derived density from his data closer to that from the CESS data. Louis's use of EDAX may also have been partially selective and focused preferentially on only part of the particles. Neither Lous nor the CESS mention cadmium or mercury, which is surprising, given that the CESS tests were sensitive to 1 ppm or better. I'd found a reasonable match with something approximately clay-like (i.e. stuff with an S.D. of 2 or 3) at 1:2 by volume with organics; and it seems to me that including a proportion of C in the inorganic mix would increases the density. Davy p (talk) 07:47, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Bat blood[edit]

The hypothesis that the red particles were bat blood was a wild guess. "Cockell takes a wild guess that maybe a meteor explosion massacred a flock of bats" "It's raining aliens, (Ref 18 in the 04:05, 27 May 2008 version of the article). A wild guess should not be presented as a serious hypothesis and given a full paragraph in what is supposedly a serious article. A person reading this Wikipedia article without carefully reading the referenced material would be left with the conclusion that "bat blood" was a potential explanation for the phenomenon. I'm going to remove that paragraph but will preserve the references. Silverchemist (talk) 04:48, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

I wonder that it might be appropriate to re-include a paragraph about bats, but including what Charles Cockell actually said, as originally quoted in the New Scientist 'Aliens from Space' article. The article itself read thus:

However, if scientists have a favourite quote, it's this one, popularised by Carl Sagan: "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". I'm hearing it a lot in discussions about the red rain of Kerala. Grady thinks Louis and Kumar have jumped to the extraterrestrial conclusion far too quickly. "They seem to prefer the most bizarre explanation they could find," agrees Charles Cockell at the Open University, who studies the microbiology of extreme rocky environments.

What other explanations are there? ... ...

Cockell argues that there could be a simpler explanation - the red particles are actually blood. "They look like red blood cells to me," he says. The size fits just right; red blood cells are normally about 6 to 8 micrometres wide. They are naturally dimpled just like the red rain particles. What's more, mammalian red blood cells contain no DNA because they don't have a cell nucleus.

It's tough to explain, however, how 50 tonnes of mammal blood could have ended up in rain clouds. Cockell takes a wild guess that maybe a meteor explosion massacred a flock of bats, splattering their blood in all directions. India is home to around 100 species of bats, which sometimes fly to altitudes of 3 kilometres or more. "A giant flock of bats is actually a possibility - maybe a meteor airburst occurred during a bat migration," he says. "But one would have to wonder where the bat wings are."

What he actually said is that the particles look like red blood cells. Indeed those in Louis & Kumar's SEM image, which was published in their third paper, do look very much like red blood cells (and rather different to images elsewhere - they are dimpled and rather uniform in size, for example).
We don't know what Cockell may have said between the quotes, but my impression has been that he used 'bats' both in the same sense as 'bats in the belfry' and to illustrate his previous remark about bizarre interpretations. Davy p (talk) 12:36, 27 May 2008 (UTC) (amended Davy p (talk) 13:09, 27 May 2008 (UTC))
How about: "In response to suggestions that the particles may have been exterrestrial cells, it was suggested that a simpler explanation (but still a "wild guess") was that the red colour was due to mammal blood, possibly from bats." Silverchemist (talk) 14:27, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

I say, leave the damn thing out. It was an off the cuff remark in a magazine, not a serious hypothesis. Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information. Jefffire (talk) 14:43, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

What I had in mind was something like:
Asked to comment on the 'spores from space' idea for the 4th March 2006 issue of New Scientist, Charles Cockell of the Open University, said, "They seem to prefer the most bizarre explanation they could find." Agreeing that the images look like red blood cells, he went on to suggest that, "A giant flock of bats is actually a possibility - maybe a meteor airburst occurred during a bat migration... But one would have to wonder where the bat wings are." Various subsequent commentators seem to have taken his suggestion rather too seriously and failed to realise that he may have been alluding to bats in the belfry. Davy p (talk) 22:46, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

The CESS report[edit]

The external link to the official CESS report is broken. A copyright-free image of the report is avaiable at http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Red_Rain_Report.pdf but I am not sure of the best way to add it to the article so it is readily accessible. Can anyone help? Silverchemist (talk) 05:12, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

I used the Internet Archive to fix the link and it appears to work on my computer, but please take a look and see if it works on yours. --Nehrams2020 (talk) 06:53, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
It works just fine. Thanks. Silverchemist (talk) 11:19, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Raining blood in Colombia[edit]

I removed the lastest edits concerning another incident of red rain. The single reference is to a Spanish language newspaper(?) article in which a local parish priest claims it was a sign from God for man to change his ways: "The pastor Jhony Milton Cordova described the incident as a possible sign from God to man reconsider its action. The article itself says "However, no details were specified, because there is no light and it was impossible to conduct more tests." This does not seem like a very reliable source for a claim that it rained blood. As stated above in this Talk page "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". Silverchemist (talk) 05:03, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

Review of the scientific literature[edit]

After only one read of this article, I came to the conclusion that 1) the introduction is misleading and, 2) The theory by Louis and Kumar seems a fringe theory that has been given way too much weight, importance and space in this article. Since no other team has been able to duplicate Louis & Kumar's claims (non peer-reviewed, i hear?), my initial assesment is that their theory may be a notch less than fringe. It is August 2009 now, the dust has settled and several teams around the world may have reported their findings. I have the interest, training and the time to review the literature available on this subject so I will likely be editing this page as I study the material.

One thing that I find alarming is Louis & Kumar's claim that the organism grows on all media it was tested on, regardless of composition, (!?!?!?) as long as it was done on supercritical fluids. I noticed that their ONLY measurement, which they arbitrrly interpret as "biological" growth, was absorbance at 200 nm over several minutes. They seem to ignore that any kind of precipitation can generate an increase in optical density, not just microbial growth. Their results suggest an exponential absorbance far greater than that of common bacteria such as e. coli (which have a 40 min replication cycle - I believe) would generate, which seems waaaay too fast for any microbe. The explanation may be their use of supercritical fluids. Now, the use of supercritical fluids is well understood and characterized as the formation of small particles of a substance with a narrow size distribution is an important process in the pharmaceutical and other industries. Supercritical fluids provide a number of ways of achieving this by rapidly exceeding the saturation point of a solute by dilution, depressurization or a combination of these. These processes occur faster in supercritical fluids than in liquids, promoting nucleation, or spinodal decomposition or crystal growth and yielding very small and regularly sized particles. So I suspect that the increase of absorbance observed by Louis and Kumar was misinterpreted as biological growth but in reality it is non-biogenic. If the bug really grows on anything, why has nobody done it but them? Where do the needed nutrients for synthesis and growth come from when they use only water? If the growth rate is so phenomenal, howcome there was no reported metabolical results such as enzymatic, or the multiple respiration products & byproducts? As I said, "a fringe theory" given too much space in this article is my first impresion. I will read the relevant material before editing this Wikipedia article in the coming days. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 04:09, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Earlier versions of the article contained much larger sections based on the extraterrestrial hypothesis. I spent a long time cleaning it up. I believe that it still needs to be mentioned in the lead paragraph since it was only due to the popular media picking up on Lewis and Kumar's ideas that red rain in Kerala received any significant attention. It would have stayed a local story and quickly forgotten. Regarding the conventional (inorganic) explanations: renamng the section "Origin of the Spores" is inaccurate since the inorganic explanations clearly do not address spores. The proposed volcanic explanation is as valid as the desert dust explanations (even though both were eventually ruled out).Silverchemist (talk) 14:11, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Hello. I am glad someone is still reading this article. If you want to include theories that were proven wrong, (i.e. desert sand, volcanic dust and meteoritic debrees) that is OK with me and it is quite reasonable as it gives a background and aproaches taken, as long as you specify they were were ruled out.
Regarding the section "Description of the particles" I don't see why we have to be enigmatic and call them "particles" being that it was proven they are spores. About the "inorganic explanations", they were not explanations but hypotheses, which were proven wrong; but as I mentioned above, lets list them back in, but in order to not confuse the readers that there is a controversy on their nature, we must label those hypotheses -very clearly- as 'ruled out.' Fair enough? BatteryIncluded (talk) 02:09, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
The sentence about the improbability of simultaneous release of spores needs to be referenced before it goes back in. I don't doubt that it is true, but because it raises doubt about the fully referenced and "official" explanation, it does need more backing.Silverchemist (talk) 15:12, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Hello. The statement of "improbable simultaneous release" is from the same official CESS report, page 11; that is why they also stated that although there is no doubt the spores were of local origin, there are many questions left unanswered. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 02:09, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

pH of rainwater[edit]

The article states that the pH of the rainwater after the "spores" were removed was near 7 and that this pH is what normal rainwater registers on the pH scale. This is actually pretty high (alkaline) given that natural rainwater has a pH of 5.7 due to the interaction of the carbon dioxide that is in the atmosphere and the water forming carbonic acid. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 128.163.194.95 (talk) 18:46, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

Bioprecipitation[edit]

New research suggests that bacteria may act as nuclei for rain drops. Let's keep an eye on this subject as spores may be mentioned too - eventually. Bacteria-rich hailstones add to 'bioprecipitation' idea. BatteryIncluded (talk) 08:36, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

confusing statement concerning creationism attitude[edit]

"Researchers Wickramasinghe and Hoyle have also used their data to argue in favour of intelligent design,[40][41][42][43][44] and propose that the first life on Earth began in space, spreading through the universe via panspermia, and that evolution on earth is influenced by a steady influx of viruses arriving via comets."

Just by looking at the sources, specifically 40 and 44 this seems totally out of context:

40: Creationism vs Darwinism: a THIRD alternative

It is NOT argued in favour of Creationism, quite on the contrary. Its proposing a different an entirely different idea.

44: Figures don't Lie but Creationists Figure

Quote:"Note that the 2 individuals in question (Hoyle and Wickramasinghe) have no problem with evolution itself and considered Creationists insane." End Quote

Is this arguing in favour of Intelligent Design? No, absolutely not.

Whilst the second part of the sentence in question is in order, the first part is not only discrediting, its also blatantly wrong by its own quoted sources.

Needs correction badly.


217.89.117.154 (talk) 12:26, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Out of context? Wickramasinghe even testified in the Arkansas Court (McLean v. Arkansas) in favor of creationism. No corrections needed, and I will be happy to find more references. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 13:00, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, but if you read that source he testified in favour of Panspermia and not Creationism. I am sorry, but i still think this is a mistake. Panspermia is not equal Creationism.

217.89.117.154 (talk) 14:01, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Hello and I apologize for my candor. The article is not stating that they are the same. The point made is that he used panspermia as "evidence" and in defense of creation. There is nothing ambiguous about his belief regarding "the possibility of high intelligence in the Universe and of many increasing levels of intelligence converging toward a God as an ideal limit."
Reagrding his assesment of red rain, which is the subject of this article, he concludes that: "Once again the Universe gives the appearance of being biologically constructed."
You must realize that in addition of the garden-variety religions, "creationism" is a generic concept used by several religious-political groups in the USA; some of its different flavors are Young Earth creationism, Old Earth creationism, Gap creationism, Day-age creationism, Progressive creationism, Intelligent design and Hoyle & Wickramasinghe with their own creationism brand, all of them calling each othe "crazy". If he supports a specific brand of creationism over another, it is still crationism, and he is linking it to the red rain. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 15:42, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Panspermia is not a brand of Creationism or ID. Wickramasinghe argues for cosmic ancestry (by its meaning, not by the concept of Brig Klyce) in his "Growth and replication of red rain cells at 121 oC and their red fluorescence" paper. In the proper context that reads:
QUOTE 6. ASTRONOMICAL RELEVANCE
"While the origin of the red rain cells remains uncertain, the possibility of their astronomical relevance has been suggested in several papers (Louis and Kumar, 2003, 2006). In this connection, the hyperthermophile properties discussed in the present paper and the unusual fluorescence behaviour are worthy of note.
We conclude this section by comparing spectra in Fig 7 with astronomical spectra of a fluorescnence phenomenon (ERE emission) for which no convincing abiotic model is still available, Fig 9 shows normalised ERE emission in several astronomical objects and Fig 10 shows the same emission in the famous Red Rectangle, a nebulosity associated with a planetary nebula (Witt and Boronson, 1990; Furton and Witt, 1992, Perrin et al, 1995, Hoyle and Wickramsinghe, 1996). Although non-biological PAH explanations are still being attempted their success has so far been minimal.
A spectrum of starlight from a blue star could provide the range of excitaton wavelengths that corresponds to those involved in Fig. 7. The correspondence of profile and peak fluorescence wavelength between the red rain spectra and the ERE spectrum of the red rectangle is impressive. We conclude this paper with a recollection of an earlier comment published by Hoyle and Wickramasinghe:
“Once again the Universe gives the appearance of being biologically constructed, and on this occasion on a truly vast scale. Once again those who consider such thoughts to be too outlandish to be taken seriously will continue to do so. While we ourselves shall continue to take the view that those who believe they can match the complexities of the Universe by simple experiments in their laboratories will continue to be disappointed.”"END QUOTE
When he refers to "biologically constructed" he means it. He doesn't reject evolution, he expands it far beyond the boundaries of Earth. He doesn't invoke a creator. He envokes a totally new level of biology, the cometary biosphere. There is no metaphysical implication.
Regarding his belief in "the possibility of high intelligence in the Universe and of many increasing levels of intelligence converging toward a God as an ideal limit.", thats just a scale measuring the progress of evolution twoards an open end goal (it takes infinite steps to walk an endless road, hence IDEAL limit): thats just his personal optinion. He doesn't present it as fact either (hence: possibility).
He acts more than a mediator in the Evolution VS Creationism debate, trying to remind people to remain open minded to new ideas, because, quite frankly, as Francis Crick hypothesized that all this biology may be set up artificially by a creator race for deep space colonization. Of course this simply moves the question one level higher, raising the question about the origins of the creator race...
Thats as far from any methaphysical concept of god as you can be. To throw him or Hoyle in the creationist/ID pot seems fundamentally flawed to me, altough i have to admit creationists/ID people tend to twist and ultilize Hoyle's and Wickramasinghes statements for their purposes - because, quite frankly, they are fairly compatible and pretty good. The perspective, however, is a totally different one. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 217.89.117.154 (talk) 12:59, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

Hello, I never stated nor implied that panspermia is a brand of creationism, but that Wickramasinghe wrongfully uses panspermia as "evidence" for ceationism. Nevertheless, you made some good points I will respond later. But first, you seem to have dismissed the rather high-profile fact that Wickramasinghe declared as an expert witness using panspermia as "evidence" in defense of creationism. Is not like the Discovery Institute quoted him out of context and without his knowledge. He is taking an active role in the "controversy" -not a third party- when he directly used the panspermia hypothesis to defend creationism in court. What are your thoughts on this? Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 13:21, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

There is a fine line here. When creationists/ID people argue for a creator the reference is in a methaphysical context; god. In the context of the panspermia theory it is very probable, considering the implications of spreading of life through the cosmos, that sentient intelligence is abundant and interferes with the spreading process. The idea of a creator (or a creator race) in this context seems not unlikely, even if life has to ultimately raise by chance at some point in space and time.
The concept is a different one, but from this perspective its pretty easy to defend the idea of a creator, because - save the methaphysical context - the possibility doesn't look so slim anymore after. Its not difficult to sympatize with the methaphysical idea and for that reason also defend it, especially if you are religious yourself in some way.
I would think twice about dumping an idea with a growing body of backing evidence in the creationst/ID camp because of a few misunderstood statements. Maybe it isn't even intentional, but from reading the line in question its easy to assume panspermia is a ID concept. There should be a clear disdinction. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 217.89.117.154 (talk) 14:12, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
>I would think twice about dumping an idea with a growing body of backing evidence in the creationst/ID camp because of a few misunderstood statements.< ( User 217.89.117.154)
That empty argument is incorrect and even false. The fact is that scientific -and legal- consensus is that the creationism/ID idea is: 1) religious garbage, and 2) lacks of all evidence. Had he been acting as a "mediator" as you claim, why did he declare in court in defense of Creationism/ID? As much as I would like to debate with you the abysmal shortcommings of creationism/ID, this is not the place to do it. Now, going back to the point: Red Rain in Kerala & Wickramasinghe, I have indulged you and looked into it further. I now believe that Wickramasinghe is specifically promoting his panspermia hypothesis he calls cosmic ancestry, where holds that "life is neither the product of supernatural creation, nor is it spontaneously generated through abiogenesis, but that it has always existed in the universe." Although postulating that life (and the universe) have always existed is contrary to nearly all contemporary scientific understanding, you are right in that Wickramasinghe is not endorsing a metaphysical creator, but an ageless, ancestral line of physical life forms. Regardless of his reasons, his action of acting in defense of Creationism/ID was indeed misleading, and it consisted of a different kind of creationism than implied in this article. Therefore, I do agree with you in this point and I will edit this article to reflect that he used the Red rain as further "evidence" for cosmic ancestry. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 15:40, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
Because both are pretty close when it comes down to arguments. There are however fine but very important differences. The creationism/ID point of view is not that far off. Creationism/ID argues more or less for a creator in the methapysical sense; god. Panspermia acknowledges the possibility of creators or creator races; artificial meddeling in the distribution process of life through the cosmos by sentient beings rising from evolution (wich is a fact because we are here and we also practice genetic engineering and astronomy). Creators: maybe, but not in a methaphysical, omnipotent sense. More like ourselves. And even the creators can't be the ultimate source of life, because quite logically they (we) are life also. If the creators are not the source it has to rise by chance occasinally, wich is quite consistent with the latest findings in synthetic biology. So certain parts of the creationst/ID reasoning can be defended, although the basis for this is an entirely different one.
I agree that there is no scientific basis for creationism/ID. Regarding panspermia, thats a different cup of tea. As mentioned in the court records, his statement was so weird that nobody could really make heads or tails from it. Thats because he was talking about cometary panspermia and not creationism/ID. You have to be very careful about the perspective. Thats why he talks about a "third" alternative. Regarding his speculations concerning the origin of life, panspermia doesn't answer the question concening origin of life in the cosmos. However it answers the question regarding the origin of life on Earth. There are others like Francis Crick's directed panspermia hypothesis for one, wich moves the question about the origin simply a level up twoards the next race - wich is not the ultimate answer to the origin of life to be frank. Think about beaches and coconuts. Realizing the distribution of palm trees on beaches is connected to coconuts being swept to beaches by the waves of the sea doesn't answer the question where the first coconuts orignated from. Same thing here. If Wickramasinghe holds that holds that "life is neither the product of supernatural creation, nor is it spontaneously generated through abiogenesis, but that it has always existed in the universe." he talks about the origin of life on Earth. Very important to distinguish that. He isn't talking about the origin of life in the cosmos. There is no methaphysical creation process involved here. Life raises by chance under right conditions, wich means it raises once in a while in a given timeframe and spreads. Thats the statement. If you talk about ethernity, then yes, that means its as old as the cosmos itself. Of course talking about the timeframe gets you into the Big Bang, Dark Matter, Dark Energy problem. Is this the first universe? Is it the only one existing? Well, we can't answer that at this moment. We may very soon. If this isn't the first Big Bang incident, and considering a view purely from a probability perspective there is no reason to belive the incident should be unique (Copernican Principle), life could be very, very old indeed.
Even if all that is not convincing enough, consider this: It is not in the interest of creationsts/ID peoples reasoning to distinguish between panspermia, especially with all the momentum it built up in favour of panspermia lately. Creationists and ID people will ultilize certain statements from that theory, just as they did with Hoyle's Junkjard statement concerning the probability of life raising on Earth from scratch. Indeed by not distinguishing between the two you playing into their hands. I feel thats highly contraproductive. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 84.56.231.155 (talk) 14:31, 22 September 2012 (UTC)
>If Wickramasinghe holds that holds that "life is neither the product of supernatural creation, nor is it spontaneously generated through abiogenesis, but that it has always existed in the universe." he talks about the origin of life on Earth. Very important to distinguish that. He isn't talking about the origin of life in the cosmos.
Wrong. Read Wickramasinghe's statement again, with close attention to the word universe. He claims steady state of the universe, including the life within. He seemsto imply that life was never created because it has always been there. In this article, though, we should be only concerned with his interpretation of the Red Rain. How about editing Wickramasinghe's biography? It has been sanitized and reads almost as spam. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 15:16, 22 September 2012 (UTC)
I guess thats right. After all Sir Fred Hoyle was also a proponent of a steady state universe as well. The changes seem now apropriate, i think we reached an agreement here. I'll see if i can add to the biograpy, but i have to admit i am more familiar with his publications and his work as a cosmic dust specialist in the field of astrobiology than his course of life. Just adding that "steady state" is not neccdesarily contrary to life arising constantly by chance if the conditions are favourable. Thats of course tied directly to state of the universe itself. Thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 217.89.117.154 (talk) 14:02, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

in support for an extraterrestrial hypothesis[edit]

I think certain developments in astrobiology should be noted as a reference in favour of the extraterrestrial hypothesis:

Whole Lichen Thalli Survive Exposure to Space Conditions: Results of Lithopanspermia Experiment with Aspicilia fruticulosa

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/ast.2010.0588


Lichens Survive in Space: Results from the 2005 LICHENS Experiment

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/ast.2006.0046


Survival Potential and Photosynthetic Activity of Lichens Under Mars-Like Conditions: A Laboratory Study

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/ast.2009.0362


volatiles in meteorites (in the case of this document martian meteorites specifically)

http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc97/pdf/1534.PDF


Its backing the extraterrestrial airburst hypothesis through volatiles being unquestionally present in meteorites (wich is also a very nice explaination for the Tunguska Event btw), odd pigmentation because of being tuned to photosyntesis under different light conditions as well as the proof that lichen are capable of surviving a journey through space. Therefore i think the above references could be added as supplemental information.


Additionally, since we are looking at (even if still arguable) evidence, maybe it should be rephrased from "hypothesis" to "theory" status.

QUOTE However, they omitted an explanation on how debris from a meteor continued to fall in the same area over a period of two months while unaffected from winds. END QUOTE

An above-cloud-airburst might spray spores into the clouds wich continue to rain down for an extended time. Many lichens reproduce asexually, either by vegetative reproduction or through the dispersal of diaspores containing algal and fungal cells. Soredia (singular soredium) are small groups of algal cells surrounded by fungal filaments that form in structures called soralia, from which the soredia can be dispersed by wind.


— Preceding unsigned comment added by 217.89.117.154 (talk) 08:51, 25 September 2012 (UTC)


217.89.117.154 (talk) 08:58, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Hello again. I am aware of all the reports you mention above, and none of them refer to the Red Rain so trying to insert them here as "support" would be WP:SYNTHESIS. The particles, which by the way, were already identified to be spores of local (Kerala) origin by expert microbiologists:[6]
"The sample was therefore transferred to the microbiology laboratory of the Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (TBGRI). The spores were found to grow well in algal culture medium. The alga was identified as a specie belonging to the genus Trentepohlia. The region in Changanacherry from where the red rain was reported was found to be densely vegetated with plenty of lichen on trees, rocks and lampposts."
The links you mention may be support for the panspermia article though. The Kerala Red rain -in contrast- does not support panspermia. Even if the dust clouds were composed of "extraterrestrial" Trentepohlia spores, the vague explanation Dr. Louis gave for such rain to fall repeatedly only over Kerala and over extended periods of time does not even come close to intelectual honesty: prafrasing: "if they fall in the ocean nobody will know; they fell here so we now know" -- Leuis performed ZERO microbiological growth experiments and ZERO spore staining procedures, (the TBGRI did), and Louis' "data" is limited to composition and light absorbances following aggregation. Their assumption does not even make it a hypothesis, that is why their WP:FRINGE proposal obtained no endorsement by biologist peers. Their asumptions are not based on scientific facts they are stubbornly ignoring the growth cultures and positive identification by the TBGRI. Their arguments and refusal to even attempt the most basic and standard microiology ID procedures cannot even be called a hypothesis, that is why it was rejected for publication and by the scientific comunity. Contrary to what Louis et. al claim, your own links above show that world scientists are actively searching and accepting with an open mind for REAL evidence to base hpotheses of organic (or prebiotic) material in outer space, so it is not a case of scientific persecution either. Louis' initial suggestion was logical and workable, but their insistence at this stage is a case of bad, sloppy, stubborn biased science.
By the way, the reported ability of lichen to survive for 2 weeks in simulated martian conditions and in outer space is not the same as "proof that lichen are capable of surviving a journey through space." It is this kind of scientific honesty and accuracy that i am concerned in this and on real astrobiology-related articles. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 17:16, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Well, it is proof that lichen can survive in a extraterrestrial environment, even as harsh as Mars - and reproduce there. It bodes well for a specimen spreading through space to be highly tolerant to a wide range of environmental conditions. The reported ability of Lichen to survive 18 months to full space environment exposure (including radiation) on the other hand in the previous two papers IS proof that lichen can survive a jounrey through space. So we have proof for survival in space and colonization capability for this specimen. I belive thats noteworthy.
I have to admit that, whilst being proof for colonization ability, this is not the same as proof for arrival on Earth from an extraterrestrial source. The only lead we have in this regard are the whitnesses stating to hear loud thunder in agreement, wich is certainly not hard evidence. If i may quote the TBGRI report:
QUOTE The people interviewed in Changanacherry reported hearing an extremely loud thunder early in the morning a few hours before the red rain. A few of them also mentioned seeing a light, which they interpreted as light from a lightning bolt. This happened on July 25th, when the state is in the middle of the south-west monsoon. Thunderstorms do not form during this time of the year, especially when the monsoon is in full swing. Further, thunderstorms do not begin and end with one single lightning stroke. The only other possibility for such a loud sound to be produced is from some object travelling at supersonic speeds. One explanation for the sound and the flash is that a meteor had passed overhead. The sound could have been the sonic boom produced by the meteor, which would have been burning brightly, thus giving out intense light also. The area where people in Changanacherry observed the red rain coincides well with the area where people reported the loud ‘thunder’. While a relationship between the two phenomena is not apparent, it is intriguing that red rain should occur in the same region a few hours after the sonic boom. There are no confirmed reports about thunder-like sounds from other sites where coloured rain has occurred.END QUOTE
Mind you, at the time the report was written it was unknown the meteors may contain volatile componets such als alcohols. Heating from atmospheric entry may cause an explosion. But thats, of course, only speculation at best, not evidence.
One thing i am a little confused about is your statement that Leuis performed no microbiological growth experiments.
http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1008/1008.4960.pdf
This is refering to said experiments, even if publication was done relatively late, in 2010 with quite interesting results. It should be easy to verify this through additional testing. It seems to contradict the TBGRI report wich states growth under room temperature, that may be tied to the growth medium used. To quote the TBGRI report:
QUOTE Intense growth was observed in the plates and the conical flasks with corn meal agar. Only poor growth was observed in the other media. END QUOTE
So it is entirely possible both observations are correct. Futher testing should produce verifiable results easily. I wouldn't be surprised about reproduction in high temperature environments, considering how hardy these specimen have proven during space exposure experiments.
At best the results can be summarized as inconclusive at this moment, but the implications of demonstrated survival capabilities of lichen during space experiments can't be overstated. Theoretically, this is absolutely possible. Even the TBGRI report notes that:
QUOTE For these lichen to release their spores simultaneously, it is necessary for them to enter their reproductive phase at about the same time. While this may be a possibility, it is quite improbable. Each individual organism would have its own life cycle, and it is difficult for all such organisms in a region to mature at the same time. A type of behaviour known as synchronous flowering, where most of the plants of the same species produce flowers at the same time, is known in higher plants. Similar phenomena in algae, known as algal blooms, are also reported from eutrophic water bodies. However, such behaviour has not been reported in lichens, but cannot be ruled out. An alternative possibility is that some microclimatic change could have stimulated the lichen. This might happen if there was bright sunshine of sufficient duration. The fact that coloured rain has occurred in small pockets rather than over a large region indicates the possibility of some microclimatic change stimulating the release of spores. Unfortunately, microclimate data is not available to confirm this hypothesis. A detailed study of the behaviour of lichen in different microclimatic conditions is therefore necessary to understand the phenomenon better. QUOTE END — Preceding unsigned comment added by 217.89.117.154 (talk) 14:05, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

Your argument is all WP:SYNTHESIS work, and as Louis, attempts to bypass the normal and expected scientific method. You must understand that we cannot include unpublished apologetics, especially in a scientific subject. Please let me recap the facts (not the arguments):

1) The particles are lichen spores; Louis keeps denying that.

2) Louis stubbornly refuses to perform standard spore staining techniques.

3) Indeed, Louis performed NO microbiological growth experiments. Did you read the web site you refer to? He autoclaved the spores and measured their aggregation by optical density. Then he dishonestly called that "growth." That is why his paper NEVER got past the peer-review process and has been denied publishing in any scientific journal. He used absolutely ZERO microbiology growth techniques, not even the most basic or standard culture media & conditions!!! And he suspiciously and stubornly avoids to employ spore-germinating conditions to stimulate TRUE BIOLOGICAL GROWTH (vs. particle aggregation).

4) The real microbiological growth cultures (actually performed by microbiologists @ TBGRI) has identified the particles as lichen spores (which by the way DO possess DNA) and concluded that "The fact that coloured rain has occurred in small pockets rather than over a large region indicates the possibility of some microclimatic change stimulating the release of spores."

5) The absense of data on the aboundance & strength of hot air thermals (proven to lift microorganisms high in the atmosphere) on the Kerala region does not imply -and certainly does not prove- that the spores came from outer space.

6) The current world's combined financial resources to find a single extraterrestrial biosignature may be approaching USD$10 billion (NASA: Curiosity rover; ESA: ExoMars, Russia: Phobos-Grunt and Mars-Grunt), so the open-mind and willingness is there. Louis is not misunderstood on the particles' ID and mode of dispersion, he is simply wrong.

Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 17:04, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

Agreed on 1) and 2), the TBGRI report states that the specimen is pretty selective when it comes to its growth medium, so 3) is a debatable. With regards to 4) i have to say it can be problematic to extract DNA from sphores, but that only solidifies that Louis should have performed extensive tests with growth medium in advance. All in all Louis paper is certainly flawed - i can agree with that. However notable is the following part of the TBGRI report:
QUOTE The site was again visited on August 16, 2001. It was found that almost all the trees, rocks and even lamp posts in the region were full of lichens. END QUOTE
It seems the specimen had no issues with respect to its growth medium under natural conditions. Most lichen are pretty specialized when it comes to substrate to grow on and the TBGRI experiments seem to confirm that. The problem is its just totally contrary to observations. Of course this proves nothing, but there is a certain discrepancy. Whilst you are certainly correct in your assesment in 5) that there is no evidence for a extraterrestrial contamination, even the TBGRI report concludes the exact cause for so much lichen sphores in the air is difficult to explain:
QUOTE For these lichen to release their spores simultaneously, it is necessary for them to enter their reproductive phase at about the same time. While this may be a possibility, it is quite improbable. END QUOTE (see above)
Also the TBGRI report notes with regards to the thunder and flash of light both phenomenon occuring relatively simultaneously and spatially consistent; airborne:
QUOTE The people interviewed in Changanacherry reported hearing an extremely loud thunder early in the morning a few hours before the red rain. A few of them also mentioned seeing a light, which they interpreted as light from a lightning bolt. This happened on July 25th, when the state is in the middle of the south-west monsoon. Thunderstorms do not form during this time of the year, especially when the monsoon is in full swing. END QUOTE (see above)
and concludes:
QUOTE While a relationship between the two phenomena is not apparent, it is intriguing that red rain should occur in the same region a few hours after the sonic boom. There are no confirmed reports about thunder-like sounds from other sites where coloured rain has occurred. QUOTE END (see above)
As already mentioned (by you) this is not about the Louis paper but about the Red Rain of Kerala itself. I still maintain its crucial information - even if no proof of extraterrestrial origin of the specimen - that lichen can indeed survive being exposed to space conditions, that sphores can survive reentry and being ejcecting from planetary surfaces and remain viable for a very long time inactive until exposed to sustainable conditions, wich includes conditions found under outside of our earthly habitat. And last but not least that meteors can indeed desintegrate in a violent explosion before impact because of the abundance of unstable components. Totally independant of the quality of Louis work this remains a theoretically vaiable possibility and if anything has become more plausible with the results of said (verified) research.
In 6) you maintain open-mind and wilingness being present. Fine, i am not asking for anything more: just represent the verified facts. The papers are certainly no proof of anything, but its certainly related and relevant findings. Of course this is also supplemental information for panspermia, the extraterrestrial "hypothesis" IS panspermia. It should be treated independant from the quality of Louis effords. The suggested papers are past the peer-review process. I wonder if its good judgement to represent the extraterrestrial scenario only by presenting flawed material when arguably better material is available. To be frank it seems a little biased to me.

84.56.231.155 (talk) 23:12, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

Hello. Re point #3, I am somewhat surprised that with your apparent understanding in the subject you do not perceive the difference between particle aggregation (an innert physicochemical property) and biological reproduction (growth). It is not like Louis tried the wrong growth media, he never used any and judging by his interviews, does not seem eager to. I see nothing debatable and the only discrepancy regarding growth is his interpretation of the proven facts. If you are able to find a report stating the he did use microbiological growth media to stimulate germination and biological growth, please let me know. We cannot apologize for him in an encyclopedia. Regarding the TBGRI report, is already included and any reader can access it for further information.
As far as Wikidedia goes, Louis was not only proven wrong, but is clearly in the WP:FRINGE side and I believe that the main editors of this Wikipedia article we have gone far enough with including his (flawed) take in this subject, considering his research never made it through the peer-review process (e.g: quality). As a visitor to Wikipedia you probably are not aware that it is not our responsibility as Wiki-editors to try and justify or fix his flawed reports/interpretations/arguments by forcibly relating them to correct but unrelated biological research (e.g: WP:SYNTHESIS) in order to impose a particlular point of view - in this case, you own WP:ORIGINAL RESEARCH. The "support" you suggest to add (lichen survival) to Louis' hypothesis is valid only on its own context, and although I certainly value your eloquence in conversation, it is not acceptable in this encyclopedia, per WP:SYNTHESIS, WP:FRINGE and WP:OR policies.
The issue is very simple: if you are able to find an independent source (WP:VERIFIABILITY) that directly and specifically supports Louis' claim on these particles, I'll be very happy to see it included in this article. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 17:24, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Well, "directly and specifically" depends on your own definition. We can agree on flaws in Louis approach and we can agree on the specimen being lichen. Now, if we view that issue without clinging to Louis flawed proceedings and accept the facts as they are from all sources, acknowledging flaws were we can percive them as such, i't like to point to
http://www.gillevin.com/Mars/SPIE_2012_As_Accepted_8-27-12.pdf
Of special interest is the context of wich lichen are mentioned in this document. But thats of course not directly related to the incident at Kerala, nor Louis work in any way, but it further supports lichen spreading through space, at least within the solar system. Now, this is no definite evidence, of course, but i guess we will have that evidence very shortly through NASA's new rover. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 217.89.117.154 (talk) 14:19, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

Red rain in Sri Lanka[edit]

"Nov 16, Colombo: Sri Lanka Medical Research Institute (MRI) has commenced investigations to ascertain the cause of the red rain received by several parts of the island on November 15." Refs: [7] and [8].

Lichen "spores"[edit]

re some of the above discussion, please note a) that there is no such thing as a lichen spore. Lichens are the result of symbiosis between a fungus and an alga or cyanobacterium, both of which produce their spores separately. b) Trentepohlia is not a lichen, and no lichenised organisms have been detected in red rain. c) The capacity of Trentepohlia to survive exposure to space or martian conditions has never been tested. The lichen species exposed to space on the ISS were Rhizocarpon geographicum and Xanthoria elegans, in both of which the algal symbiont is Trebouxia d) their capacity to survive re-entry was not evaluated e) the colour of Trentepohlia and the colour of red rain "spores" are completely different. f) in addition, the Trentepohlia hypothesis for red rain fails to provide a mechanism for the accumulation of its spores in rain in sufficient quantity to colour it red. g) no credible molecular data confirming the common identity of red rain spores and Trentepohlia has ever been produced. Without this confirmation the hypothesis is worthless. Plantsurfer (talk) 21:09, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

a) Glad someone mentions the fungus/algae symbiosis of lichen. We could do a better job here to note that fact.
b) Microbiologists (eg. not Chandra) involved in researching the rain water sediment reported Trentepohlia spores, if you disagree, I expect you have papers supporting that?
c), d) Explain that to Chandra.
e) re: The color of lichen ≠ spores, the quote being used is: "The color was found to be due to the presence of a large amount of spores of a lichen-forming alga belonging to the genus Trentepohlia." As far as I know, the color of the spores vs. the color of Trentepohlia lichen is not an issue nor matter of controversy. But if what you meant is that you detected a sentence where "spore" should be changed for "lichen" (or vis et versa, please feel free to change it.
f) I am glad you also read the quoted joint-report issued by the CESS and the TBGRI stating that there is no satisfactory explanation to microbiologists for the high spore concentration in rain drops. The last thing we knew, meteorologists proposed some hypothetical [wind] models for that. Did you find an update to include or just wanted to chat in point-form?
g) You mean there is no positive ID other than growing actual Trentepohlia algae from the red rainwater spores? Obviously it was definitive enough to the actual microbiologists (versus mathematicians) so they decided it was not even necessary to use PCR or immunochemistry. But hey, even if done, and since the spores do not even have nucleic acids, Chandra would still call it false, unsatisfactory, non-credible, and non-definitive, right? Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 00:55, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
c),d) with due respect Chandra's pov is irrelevant. If there is no citation supporting evidence of testing Trentepohlia's survival in space or re-entry then reference to it is inadmissible in this article.
e) the color is an issue. Trentepohlia's pigments are orange, those of red rain are red, hence the name. At the very least the discrepancy requires explanation.
g) If, as you say, the spores do not even have nucleic acids they cannot be of biological origin, therefore not Trentepohlia or lichen. QED.Plantsurfer (talk) 01:30, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
c),d) We obviously agree in the scientific merits of their (Chandra, Louis, Kumar) pipe dreams, and you confirm to me that you just want to talk about it. Yes, they have not done research and have no evidence. Their claim is discredited by science, yet, they are given a lot of attention by the popular press, and that is the only reason this Wikipedia article exists. Yes, their "research" is "faulted" and their "hypothesis" is not grounded on scientific evidence. It bothers not just you that reporters give them a soap-box. My point is that we gain nothing by bitching about it in this talk page. In Wikipedia we present all sides of this [popular] story, and I have payed close attention to remark that this fringe claim is not supported by microbiologists, and I would like to even mention in the article that it does not even qualify as a scientific controversy. Deleting this article (which seems to be your aparent request) would leave the popular press in charge of educating the public in this issue. Got it?
Regarding the color issue, please share the link where it is actually treated as an issue. I am all for trashing Kumar Louis and Chandra's pathological science. If it is your assessment (POV), you know how far it will go.
g) Are you trolling or you need a sarcasm transplant? Now you -like Kumar, Chandra and Louis- are demanding an ID confirmation at molecular level, and unless that is done, there is no "credible" ID. Get it straight: HE (not me) says the spores do not contain nucleic acids, so even if somebody puts Chandra/Kumar/Louis out of their missery pointing at a nucleic acid marker ID (PCR), those lunatics would still reject it. Fact: The spores' ID was done by the competent authorities (who actually went to school to understand microbiology) to their satisfaction, so I don't care if YOU don't believe it either. As much as I want to entertain your forum-like comments, next I will only address useful feedback (e.g: published references) to improve this article. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 15:07, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Chemical composition: Important discrepancies in reported composition[edit]

The first sentence states that analyses by different groups using different techniques gave similar results. On the contrary, these analyses show worrying discrepancies and omissions that are not easily reconciled. The CESS analysis only accounts for about 65% of the elements in the sample, omitting to report four of the most crucial elements for biological cells: oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur and hydrogen. Bizarrely, CESS reports a number of elements that are unknown to science. The table of Louis and Kumar's EDX data purports to account for 99.99 wt% of elements, yet again omits the life-critical nitrogen, sulfur hydrogen and phosphorus, among others without which biological cells would not be able to function. The same authors find some hydrogen and nitrogen by CHN analysis but with considerably lower amounts of carbon. By modern standards, and particularly in view of the controversial claims which rest on the identity of the red rain cells, these wildly different results are highly unsatisfactory. Plantsurfer (talk) 12:33, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done. Yes, the procedures were not standardized between the teams. Changed the sentence to: "Several groups of researchers analyzed the chemical elements in the solid particles, and different techniques gave different results." -BatteryIncluded (talk)

New paper on new 2012 incidents[edit]

You asked for more evidence on the extraterrestrial hypothesis. Well, here it is. I don't plan on going in a legthy discussion, its just releated material and i am forwarding it "as is". http://www.panspermia.org/diatomsinpolonnaruwa.pdf — Preceding unsigned comment added by 84.56.246.242 (talk) 10:18, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

source: http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2013/01/17/chandra-wickramasinghe-coming-to-sri-lankato-gather-further-information/

217.89.117.154 (talk) 11:03, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Thank you guys. The target article is Polonnaruwa (meteorite). BatteryIncluded (talk) 13:52, 18 January 2013 (UTC)



Article in the Huffington Post (weird news section)--- Posted: 01/18/2013 10:50 am EST | Updated: 01/18/2013 11:37 am EST.

source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/18/extraterresterial-life-exists-chandra-wickramasinghe_n_2500008.html

84.56.246.242 (talk) 21:55, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

new paper on Polonnaruwa meteor

http://journalofcosmology.com/JOC21/Polonnaruwa5R.pdf 217.89.117.154 (talk) 09:48, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

new paper on red rain

http://journalofcosmology.com/JOC22/Polonnaruwa9B.pdf 217.89.117.154 (talk) 10:40, 17 April 2013 (UTC)


Same old story: Deny, deny, deny, deny, and write your science fiction in your private journal. BatteryIncluded (talk) 13:41, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

In 1968, polycyclic aromatic molecules were detected in interstellar dust. In 1972, convincing evidence that the dust contained porphyrins was obtained. Then in 1974, Wickramasinghe demonstrated that there are complex organic polymers, specifically molecules of "polyformaldehyde", in space. These molecules are closely related to cellulose, which is very abundant in biology. By 1975, Hoyle and Wickramasinghe were convinced that organic polymers were a substantial fraction of the dust. This line of thought was considered wildly speculative at that time. Now however, the idea that organic polymers in space are abundant and may be necessary for life is well accepted. But Hoyle and Wickramasinghe were not satisfied. In the middle 1970s, they turned their attention to an apparent anomaly in the spectrum. This spectral feature could be explained if the grains of dust were of a certain size, and translucent. After trying almost everything else first, in 1979, they looked at the spectrum for bacteria. Dried bacteria refract light as irregular hollow spheres, and their size range is appropriate. The match between the spectrum for dried bacteria and the ones from the interstellar grains was nearly perfect. Thinking without prejudice, Hoyle and Wickramasinghe concluded the grains probably were dried, frozen bacteria. This finding was ridiculed at the time, is still ridiculed today, and is definitely not accepted by mainstream science. Most astronomers rebut this claim by saying that you can produce spectra that match those from space with a wide variety of substances that are not necessarily biological.
"You don't! You don't. It is established in minds that there are alternatives. Nobody bothers to check them. They just go around and say that. They will take tiny little bits, maybe five percent of that wavelength range and they'll find a substance that has some rough correspondence, not very good one but a rough one and they just say it's the same. None of them ever look at the full range. NO. This makes me angry." - Fred Hoyle, Institute for Astronomy, Cambridge, England, 5 July 1996
1976 the two Viking probes landed on Mars. One of the mission goals was to look for biosignatures on Mars. Among its equipment was the Labled Release Experiment, wich returned quite astownishing data. It was discounted as inconclusive because the gas chromatograph didn't indicate the presence of carbon. Today there is consensus that the gas chromatograph was not sensitive enough to detect carbon compunds and, quite frankly, the Curiosity Rover did indeed detect carbon compounds in the soils of Mars. Dr. Gilbert Levin, the engineer designing the equipment, maintains since the seventies that the probes detected life on Mars. He also is behind a series of subsequent studies and recent re-analysis of the Viking data, pointing out a chicadian rhythm in the supposedly purely chemical reactions. Findings wich conclude that Mars had an active magnetosphere in ancient days, as well as the confirmation of ancient riverbeds lend further credibility to his conclusions.

http://www.gillevin.com/Mars/Reprint129-SPIE2005HVD.pdf http://www.gillevin.com/Mars/complexity_Analysis_IJASS.pdf

On August 6, 1996 Dr. David McKay of NASA claimed that the martian ALH84001 meteorite may contain evidence of traces of life from Mars, and published an article in Science. The announcement of possible extraterrestrial life caused considerable controversy. When the discovery was announced many immediately conjectured that the fossils were the first true evidence of extraterrestrial life, making headlines around the world, and even prompting the President of the United States Bill Clinton to make a formal televised announcement to mark the event. Despite the subsequent work of Dr. David McKay, wich he continued to his death in February 19, 2013, confirming his initial conclusions and broadly defeating aciticisms made the public quickly lost interest. The same can't be necessarily said about the scientifc community, as the emergence of the field of astrobiology is mainly to his credit. Concerning the small size of the "biomorphs", wich caused a bit controversity about nanobacteria i'd like to point out that every one-celled organism has organelles. These organelles are evidently symbionts and some still reproduce independently of the host cell, effectively discounting any doubts about the size constraints (cell size) of living organisms. However, the strongest confirmation of a biogenic origin of the "biomorphs" was found in the presence of magnetides wich can evidently only be produced by a biogenic process.

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/johnson/pdf/403099main_GCA_2009_final_corrected.pdf http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_x60v3E-yZ8

Similar claims have been made by Richard Hoover in 1997, 2007 and 2011 and Wickramasinghe & Hoover in 2013, as both have now joint forces and work together.

http://www.panspermia.org/hoovermeteorites.pdf http://journalofcosmology.com/JOC22/Paper22%282a%29.pdf

In February 2005, NASA scientists reported that they may have found some evidence of present life on Mars. Carol Stoker and Larry Lemke of NASA's Ames Research Center, based their claim on methane signatures found in Mars' atmosphere resembling the methane production of some forms of primitive life on Earth. NASA officials soon distanced NASA from the scientists' claims, and Stoker herself backed off from her initial assertions.
An Indian and British team of researchers led by Chandra Wickramasinghe reported on 2001 that air samples over Hyderabad, India, gathered from the stratosphere by the Indian Space Research Organization, contained clumps of living cells. Wickramasinghe calls this "unambiguous evidence for the presence of clumps of living cells in air samples from as high as 41 km, above which no air from lower down would normally be transported". A reaction report at NASA Ames indicated skepticism towards the premise that Earth life cannot travel to and reside at such altitudes. Max Bernstein, a space scientist associated with SETI and Ames, argues the results should be interpreted with caution, noting that "it would strain one's credulity less to believe that terrestrial organisms had somehow been transported upwards than to assume that extraterrestrial organisms are falling inward". Pushkar Ganesh Vaidya from the Indian Astrobiology Research Centre reported in his 2009 paper that "the three microorganisms captured during the balloon experiment do not exhibit any distinct adaptations expected to be seen in microorganisms occupying a cometary niche".
In 2005 an improved experiment was conducted by ISRO. On April 10, 2005 air samples were collected from six places at different altitudes from the Earth ranging from 20 km to more than 40 km. Adequate precautions were taken to rule out any contamination from any microorganisms already present in the collection tubes. The samples were tested at two labs in India. The labs found 12 bacterial and 6 fungal colonies in these samples. The fungal colonies were Penicillium decumbens, Cladosporium cladosporioides, Alternaria sp. and Tilletiopsis albescens. Out of the 12 bacterial samples, three were identified as new species and named Janibacter hoyeli.sp.nov (after Fred Hoyle), Bacillus isronensis.sp.nov (named after ISRO) and Bacillus aryabhati (named after the ancient Indian mathematician, Aryabhata). These three new species showed that they were more resistant to UV radiation than similar bacteria found on Earth. For any organism living so far up the Earth's atmosphere or having come from outside Earth, the UV radiation resistance would be extremely critical for survival.
The evidence was convincing enough to run a series of space exposure experiment on the ISS, and the findings of those missions turned out to be a big surprise. They gave positive results.
"The experiment Lithopanspermia and the experiment Life: The concept of both of the space experiments is to expose different eukaryotic species as there are the lichens Xanthoria elegans, Rhizocarpon geographicum and their mycobiont cultures, the black Antarctic microfungi Cryomyces minteri and Cryomyces antarcticus and Antarctic rocks colonized by cryptoendolithic communities. The aim behind this space research is to analyze the likelihood of Panspermia, which means the interplanetary transfer of life. Whereas the BIOPAN 6 experiment is a short time space experiment with 10 days space exposure, the experiment on the EXPOSE platform on the ISS is a long term experiment of about 1 years of space exposure what is a good tool to realize the second scenario of Panspermia, which means the travel of microorganisms through space. Experiment verification tests: investigations on the mentioned eukaryotic model organisms were still done during experiment verification tests (EVTs) and indicated a relevant high survival capacity. Nearly 70 to 90% of the lichens and up to 70% black microfungi have survived the tests before space exposure experiments. This has been checked by culturing methods, by the use of LIVE/DEAD staining investigations and in case of lichens additionally by photosynthesis activity tests. Space exposure: samples of the same model organisms were used for the space exposure experiments partly on BIOPAN 6 (FOTON M3) and completely on the ISS. The exposure time was between 10 days and 1 years and the results are indicating still maintenance of viability and even a preserved physiologic activity."
In 2007, a little known creature called a tardigrade became the first animal to survive exposure to space. It prevailed over sub-zero temperatures, unrelenting solar winds and an oxygen-deprived space vacuum.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/12855775

Also impact sudies have been conducted. Thos also come out with positive results. Virtually *every* test conducted so far confirms the theory.

http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/~meech/a281/handouts/panspermia.pdf

As survival capabilities are revaled to be sufficient for life to spread into space people started to wonder about the probabilities of such a transfer. Unsurprisngly the work done so far leads to the conclusion Earth seeded the cosmos for billions of years.

http://www.edbelbruno.com/Belbruno-Lithopanspermia_Origin_of_Life%282012%29.pdf

Wich leads us to the question how ancient life truly is. There are also most intriguing projections. A study based on Moore's Law places the origin of life (not considering extinction events, wich makes it a conservative estimate) at 9.7±2.5 billion years ago, older than Earth itself.

http://arxiv.org/abs/1304.3381v1

and not without a little glee on my side we got confirmation of the meteor airburst scenario this year in Russia

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UL90rB-i7uw — Preceding unsigned comment added by 84.56.214.206 (talk) 09:41, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

You don't like the JoC source. Okay, no more JoC papers. There are others. I keep you up to date for sure. It now reached a point where deniers have to propose a mechanism wich *prevents* the spread of life into space, because all the indications so far suggest its happening on Earth. And we both know such a mechanism doesn't exist. Its evidently *not* a science ficton story.
Id' like to ask you: What kind of evidence would you consider as sufficient? Or is it more depending on what most people like to belive?

84.56.214.206 (talk) 09:04, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

Possible bias in criticism section[edit]

Just passing through. This sentence (last one in the first paragraph of the Criticism subsection) sounds very biased.

"And every time, they've been popular with the mass media, with major news agencies like CNN repeating their sensational panspermia story without critique, although almost nobody else in the scientific community accepts Louis and Kumar's space spore explanation.[50]"

76.216.149.73 (talk) 05:36, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

How is it biased? It's just what the facts are. NASA refused to give their paper the time of day because they're not botanist. They don't know the cellular walls have to be permeated to find the dna. Which is basic stuff for this type of analysis. 98.209.42.117 (talk) 05:33, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

Kumar elemental analysis in table over 100%.[edit]

total cannot be over 100%98.165.176.87 (talk) 18:03, 22 September 2013 (UTC)GW