Meteors & Microfossils
Cosmology - Astronomy - Astrobiology






Meteors & Microfossils
Life on Earth Came From Other Planets?

Rhawn Joseph, Ph.D.

METEORS, MICROBES, SUPER EARTHS & RED GIANTS
Life gives rise to life and stars give birth to stars which come to be ringed with living planets, many just like our own. It is an endless cycle of death and rebirth which may have been ongoing for all eternity.

Stars are born and then grow old, spreading the seeds of life throughout the cosmos as they die. And these genetic seeds contain the DNA instructions for the metamorphosis of all life including woman and man, and this is how life on our planet began.

Some stars, those just like our sun, never explode, but merely collapse and fade away, reduced to a feeble pale glow seen dimly from the surface of its planets as they drift ever further into the darkness of eternal night. Yet, these small stars, they too, in their last dying gasps, dispersed the seeds of life into the twinkling void of infinite night. Even their seemingly dead planets may continue to harbor microbial life.

Red giants disperse these seeds in stages, first via the accelerating power of their solar winds which blow away the life-sustaining atmospheres of its planets, creating a nebular cloud at the far edges of the dying solar system. And within the dust and debris of this protective cocoon dwell these cast offs, actual living creatures and their DNA. Nebular clouds are littered with the organic residue of microbial life.

And then the second stage. These red giant explode shattering their planets, casting them into the abyss. And miles deep within these broken worlds there is life; billions of trillions of creatures that labor under conditions no different from before the cataclysm, even as these fractured planetary remnants join the growing nebular shell.

However, most of these planets would have been ejected prior to supernova, and those creatures dwelling deep inside, would not have perished.

The kinetic energy of an orbiting planet is half the energy of its escape velocity. Planets as well as the central star exert gravitational effects on one another (Gladman 2005). A star loses from 40% to 80% of its mass during the red giant phase (Kalirai et al. 2007; Liebert et al. 2005; Wachter et al. 2008). Therefore its gravitational influences would be lessened. Therefore planets that had occupied an Earth-like habitable zone would have begun to increase their distance from the parent star as it lost mass and expanded in size (Schroder and Smith 2008). If these planets were larger than the Earth (and depending on other parameters) they would likely be expelled from the solar system prior to supernova (Schroder and Smith 2008).

"Super Earths" have been discovered orbiting the "habitable zone" of a number of stars (Udry et al. 2007; Mayor et al. 2009). Therefore, similar "super Earths" may have orbited the parent star, but may have been expelled prior to supernova. Thus, when the parent star exploded, although its planets may have been shattered, it is unlikely they would have been atomized if they had been ejected.

Consider the Murchison meteorite. An analysis of the isotopic composition of silicon carbide grains, indicates impact by shock waves from a supernova of a star which has lost almost all of its hydrogen mass (Pellin et al. 2002), indicating its gravitational influences were significantly reduced. These findings, coupled with results from shock-recovery experiments performed on insoluble organic matter within the Murchison (Mimura et al. 2007) are also consistent with the proposal that its parent body was expelled from the solar system prior to supernova, and was then impacted following supernova, perhaps while drifting within a planetary nebula. The Murchison meteorite is also the home of numerous microbial micro-fossils.

Microbes living within the nebular cloud, those in the shattered remnants of their homes planets, could have easily have formed spores and become dormant, waiting only a signal to awake. And then, after millions of years, those microbes who survived, or their progeny, were flung upon a new world, the Earth, and they went forth to multiply.

METEORS, MICROBES & SUPERNOVA

Our solar system is the child of an ancient exploding star which had been likely ringed with planets crawling with all manner of life, the remnants of which formed the Earth, our sun, and the planets of our solar system. Naturally, any survivors of this cosmic cataclysm, those that had been swept from the surface of its planets by the dying star's powerful solar winds, and those buried within oceans of ice and moon sized mountains of debris, would have become part of these newly forming worlds.

Consider the Earth with its trillion trillion trillion trillion... microbes buried beneath the soil, at the bottom of the sea, and living in every conceivable environment, from boiling hot-springs to frozen wastes well below zero [81-85]. If the Earth were shattered and broken apart, innumerable creatures would survive, many becoming dormant, others living comfortably deep within 400 mile wide debris. Even if subjected to extreme heat or subzero temperatures, some of these microbes would instantly form protective heat-shock or cold-shock proteins and become spores. And if these mountains of Earth and frozen oceans of ice were to crash into the surface or the oceans of a suitable planet, some of these creatures would survive.

What type of creature could withstand a supernova explosion, or expulsion to the far corners of space? As detailed in a scholarly, scientific article available at Cosmology.net : Trillions. The bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans is almost indestructible. Radiodurans survive explosions and atomic radiation 3,000 times stronger than that which would instantly kill a human.

When threatened with death, extremophiles will become dormant and can form heat-shock proteins or cold-shock proteins which wrap around and protect them from the infernos of hell or the subzero temperatures of space [106-110].

Published studies have shown that microbes can survive the shock of a violent impact casting them deep into space. Moreover, spores can easily survive the vacuum of space with minimal protection (G. Horneck, Origisn Life Evolution. Bispohere, 1993, 23, 37; G. Horneck, et al., Advances in Space Research, 1995, 16, 105). In the Long Duation Exposure Facility Mission, spores of B. subtilis were exposed to the the vacuum of space, UV radiation and cosmic rays for nearly 6 years. In each sample, thousands of spores survived (G. Horneck, et al. Advances in Space Research, 1994, 14, 41). As concluded by G. Horneck and colleagues: "Microorganisms traveling through space inside a meteorite are probably not under serious threat of being killed by solar UV radiation" (G. Horneck et al., Viable Transfer of Microorganisms in the solar system and beyond, In G. Horneck & C. Baumstark-Khan. Astrobiology, Springer, 2002).

Further, a substantial number could easily survive the descent to the surface of another planet "(G. Horneck et al., Viable Transfer of Microorganisms in the solar system and beyond, In G. Horneck & C. Baumstark-Khan. Astrobiology, Springer, 2002).

When meteors strike the atmosphere, they are subjected to extremely high temperatures for only a few seconds. If of sufficient size, the interior of the meteor will stay relatively cool, with the surface material acting as a heat shield. Thus the heat does not effect the material uniformly. The interior may never be heated above 100 C (G. Horneck et al., Viable Transfer of Microorganisms in the solar system and beyond, In G. Horneck & C. Baumstark-Khan. Astrobiology, Springer, 2002), whereas spores can survive post shock temperatures of over 250 C.

Spores have been brought back to life even after 250 million years have passed. The same life-sustaining abilities could be expected of the microbial denizens of the parent star and its planets, and those embedded within meteors, asteroids, and comets. Thus, even after hundreds of millions of years, if flung upon a new world, these survivors could awaken from their death-like slumber, and then go forth and multiply, leaving their dead brethren behind.

Eighteen different meteors containing fossils of ancient microbes have in fact crashed to Earth [85-92], some of which were impacted by supernova. Ancient meteors which have fallen to Earth are peppered with elements generated by an exploding star [93-96]. These include the decay product of Iron-60 and a rare isotope, sulphur-36 which is produced by the radioactive decay of chlorine-36. Sulphur 36 and Iron 60 are the residue of supernova, and were found in meteorites that had circled the Sun for millions of years before falling to Earth [93-96].

Yet other meteors are peppered with grains produced by this titanic explosion [97,98]. The Murchison meteorite, a carbonaceous chondrite from outside our solar system contains not just grains [98] but fossils of microbial life [85.86]. A detailed analysis of the isotopic composition of these grains indicates it is from a more ancient star that long ago exploded in a supernova, shattering all the planets that made up its solar system. The Murchison, was blasted into space by a supernova [93-96].

METEORS, MICROFOSSILS, & THE ORIGINS OF EARTHLY LIFE

ORGEUIL METEOR

Only life can produce life, and microbial fossils have been found in 15 different carbonaceous chondrites which originated outside our solar system and which formed the heart of comets. These are the Murchison [85,86], Ivuna [87], Orgueil [88,89], Allende [90,91], and Efremovka [92] meteors. The fossilized impressions of nanobacteria, extremophiles, and microorganisms similar to cynobacteria have been found in each of these meteors by independent investigators and NASA scientists.

The Orgeuil meteorite crashed to Earth on May 14, 1864, near Orgeuil, France. Organic material and biogenic hydrocarbons believed to have been produce by extraterrestrial creatures, and organized elements and cell structures that resemble fossilized algae were identified as indigenous to the meteor. Smooth filamentous and spherical skins surrounding grains of inorganic material were discovered, and many were doubled like the walls of biolotical cells. Some of the skins by resembled microscopic fungi. George Claus and Bart Nagy who examined the Orgeuil, subsequently announced the organized elements were of living organisms. Radioactive data showed the meterors were as old if not older than the solar system.

Pollen grains, similar to ragweed, were also found inside the Orgeuil, which, of course, were dismissed as secondary to contamination. Yet how these grains worked their way down deep inside the Orgeuil after it slammed to Earth, has not been explained.

Amino acids and nucleobases for DNA and RNA, including adenine, guanine, alanine, glyciine and isovaline were also discovered in the interior of the Orgeuil (Hayatsu, 1964; Hayatsu et al., 1968; Folsome et al. (1971, 1973; Lawless et al. (1972). Carbon isotopic measurements proved these acids were extraterrestrial and originated in an environment with lots of water and high concentration of organic carbon. Thus, they are likely biological in origin.

In fact, the presence of DNA and RNA fragments are an obvious indication of extraterrestrial life. The genomes of living creatures journeying through space, can be fractured and broken if struck by radiation (K. Dose, et al.Advances in Space Research, 1995, 16, 119. ). Not surprisingly, many meteorities contain fragments of DNA.

Further study of the Orgeuil and Ivuna meteorites using an electronic microscope, revealed the presence of acid resistant fossils very similar to purple photosynthetizing bacteria belonging to the species Rhodopseudomonas rutilis. These microfossils were indigenous to the meteorite and not due to contamination.

Further confirmation was provided in 2004, when Richard Hoover of NASA, using NASA's Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope discovered fossilized colonies resembling cyanobacteria. These fossils were found in a freshly fractured, interior slice of the Orgueil meteorite, making it almost impossible they are due to contamination.

Fossilized colonies inside a meteor that has spent billions of years in space, is exactly what should be expected. Bacteria and microbes form colonies which serve protective functions. If cast into space, deep inside a mound of earth and stone, it could be predicted that over millions of years, that at least some of those living on the outskirts and outer rims of the colony, might be killed. These dead microbes and spores would form a protective crust, blocking out and protecting those in the inner layers from radiation or other hazards associated with space travel and the ejection from and the landing on another planet. Therefore, be they buried within rock, ice, or some other stellar material, and regardless of the depth, colonies of living microbes would provide their own protection and many would die in consequence. In fact, the fossilized remnants of bacterial colonies have been discovered in a number of meteorites.

MURCHISON METEOR

In 1969, another famous carbonaceous chondrite slammed into the upper atmosphere of the Earth and fragments were scattered across a pasture near Murchison, Australia. Subsequently, organic compounds, amino acids, and fossilized microcells were discovered. These findings were confirmed in 1984 when German geologist and paleontologist Hans Dietrich Pflug discovered fossilized cells and virus particles and other fossil-like structures similar to those found in the Orgeuil.

Dr. Pflug also found clusters of fossils similar to terrestrial bacteria such as Pedomicrobium a flowering bacteria which feeds on metals. Pflug used acid to disolve the mineralized portions and found numerous fossil like structures nearly identical to those found in ancient terrestrial rock and those discovered in iron banded formations in Gunflint Minnesota --these formation extend backwards in time to 4.2 bilion years ago. Yet other fossils resembled methanogens and terrestrial viruses. It was in fact riddled with microfossils.

These results were confirmed in 1997, by Richard B. Hoover of NASA who discovered fossiled bacteria deep within the Murchison meterorite which resemble colonies of living cyanobacteria. According to Dr. Hoover, "the fossils were seen in freshly broken pieces of the meteorite so the chance that they were earthly contaminants is low. The chemical evidence around the microfossils is most readily explained as the result of biological activity."

Independent studies of the Murchison meteor were also conducted by Dr. Stanislav Zhmur of the Institute of the Lithosphere of Marginal Seas, and Lyudmila Gerasimeko of the Institute of Biology in Russia. They too discovered the presence of fossilized microorganisms similar to cyanobacteria of the genus Phormidium and Mustigocladus. They concluded that "the microfossils detected represent the remains of microbial communities rather than the remains of individual microorganisms; the communities were well developed and resembled cyanobacterial communities."

As summed up by NASA's Richard Hoover: "The Murchison forms represent an indigenous population of the preserved and altered carbonized remains (microfossils) of microorganisms that lived in the parent body of this meteorite at diverse times during the last 4.5 billion years."

The Murchison has been subsequently discovered to contain an extensive array of organic compounds including nitrogen bases and over 70 different amino acids including a preponderance of left-handed amino acids which are characteristic of life (Cooper et al., 2001; J. R. Cronin, S. Chang, In J. M. Greenberg et al., The Chemistry of Life' s Origins. Kluwer, Dordrecht, 1993). These include aliphatic amines, purines, and one pyrimidine, e.g., adenine, guanine, uracil, guanylurea and triazines (Hayatsu et al. (1975; Folsome et al. (1971, 1973; Stoks and Schwartz (1979, Van der Velden and Schwartz (1977, Z. Martins et al., 2008). These asymmetries and acids are typically produced by or associated with living creatures. They are biological in origin. Additional study found sugar related compounds and organic residue and vesicles that had formed organic compounds. These include fatty acids similar to the albumin of egg yolk.

ALLENDE METEORITE

In 1997, Robert Folk of the University of Texas discovered Grape-like clusters of nannobacterial cells in the Allende meteorite that closely resembled fossils of well-known terrestrial nanobacteria.

Additional evidence for microbial life in the Allende and Murchison meteorites was reported in 1999 by Russian Scientists. These fossils included the remains of microbial communities, similar to cyanobacteria, and which probably lived in an watery enviroment.

EFREMOVKA METEORITE

Watery residue and fossils of microoganisms, cynobacteria and coccoid bacteria similar to the Synechococcus genera were also found inside the Efremovka meteorite [92]. The Efremovka is believed to be nearly 5 billion years in age.

COMETS, CARBONACEOUS CHONDRITES & CONTAGION

The Ivuna, Orgueil, Murchison, Allende, and Efremovka meteorites are all carbonaceous chondrites. Carbonaceous chondrites typically contain a high abundance of water-bearing minerals, organics and biologically related compounds. (for reviews see e.g. Botta and Bada, 2002; Sephton, 2002). Numerous independent research groups have detected the nucleobases for DNA and RNA within carbonaceous chondrites, including adenine, guanine, uracil, and melamine (Hayatsu, 1964; Hayatsu et al., 1968, 1975; Hayatsu et al.,1968; Folsome et al.,1971,1973; Lawless et al.,1972; Van der Velden and Schwartz, 1977; Stoks and Schwartz, 1979, 1981). These organics are extra-terrestrial in origin (Van der Velden and Schwartz, 1977) and were most likely produced biologically. These are not pre-biological substances.

These meteors are associated with comets, which in turn are surrounded by frozen water and ice. Microbes and spores are perfectly adapted for living in glacial conditions--including those associated with space travel. Moreover, comets have been the main source of the water that now covers the Earth. And that water likely contained life.

On Earth, living creatures, fossils, and biologically produced substances, including biogenic gases, biominerals, lipids, enzymes, proteins, nucleotides, and fragments of RNA and DNA have been found within ice, snow packs, and frozen deep within the permafrost (D. A. Gilichinsky Permafrost Model of Extraterrestrial Habitat, In G. Horneck & C. Baumstark-Khan. Astrobiology, Springer, 2002). Similar biologically produced substances and fossils of living creatures have also been found in meteors.

Comets and asteroids are covered with ice, forming what could be described as permafrost. A significant proportion of the Earth's surface also consists of permafrost--frozen ground reaching depths of 700 to 1000 meters and with temperatures well below 0 C.

The permafrost of the Earth has been colonized by chemotrophic bacteria and methanogenic archaea and nitrifing bacteria (16-18). T. Shi, et al., Microbiology & Ecology, 1997, 33, 169.; D.A. Gilichinsky, et al., Advances in Space Research, 1992, 12, 255). Richard Hoover of NASA, discovered fungi, algae, cyanobacteria, nanobacteria, spores, diatoms, and protozoan in deep ancient ice cores over 4,000 years old, drilled from Lake Vostok, near the south pole. These creatures were found in association with ancient cosmic dust particles--tiny fragments of carbonaceous meteors which had fallen from space.

Carbonaceous chondrites are believed to have been a source of water in the inner solar system, delivering oceans of water to the Earth.

Moreover, microbes recovered from Lake Vostok increase in number with increasing numbers of dust particles (S. Abyzov et al., Microbiologiya, 1998, 67, 547), suggesting that these microbes and even more complex creatures fell to Earth attached to the fragmentary remnants of ancient meteors.

MURCHISON, EFREMOVKA, ALLENDE

Dr. Stanislav Zhmur independently conducted a "comparative analysis of bacteriomorphic structures from the carbonaceous meteorites Murchison, Efremovka, and Allende" and the "morphology of microorganisms of modern and ancient cyanobacterial community" and concluded that fossils found on these three meteors are the "fossilized remnants of microorganisms. The lithified remnants are tightly conjugated with the mineral matrix, removing the possibility they are contaminants."

Russian scientists, V.I. Vernadsky and G.A. Zavarzin, who studied the Efremovka concluded that microbial life was present well before the formation of the solar system. Presumably, these meteors and their living cargo, are the remnants from that star system which gave birth to our own.

CONTAMINATION & CONDEMNATION

Critics commonly dismiss all evidence of microfossils in meteors by claiming contamination and by attacking the competence, honesty, and professional reputations of those who announce these discoveries. And yet, if these findings are due to "contamination" then why is it this "contamination" only occurs in stony meteorites?

There are several types of meteors: iron, silicated iron, stony irons, and stone meteors. About 10% of meteors which strike the Earth are comprised of iron, and are called "iron meteorites." Silicated iron meteorites are incredibly beautiful to behold and contain clumps and veins of metal. Microfossils or other evidence of past life have not been detected in iron or silicated iron meteors--presumably because this material was ejected from the heart of a star or at one time served as the molten core of an ancient planet.

Stone meteors are the most common and include the chrondrites and achrondites. Stone meteors are extremely varied in composition, and look very similar to earth rocks. Chondrites often form the heart of comets and are believed to be the fragmentary remains of ancient planets which were shattered by supernova. Achrondites, such as the famous microfossil containing meteor from Mars (See chapter 3), are pieces of planet which are ejected into space following a cosmic collision or asteroid strike.

Microfossils and other organic evidence of biology have been found in 18 stony meteors, including 5 chrondrites from outside our solar system and 3 achrondites from Mars.

Innumerable Earthly microbes feast on metals. What is the likelihood that microbes from Earth would leave their fossilized signatures deep within stony meteors, but avoid those consisting of silicates, irons and other metals?

Those advocating a contamination conspiracy are not to be taken seriously.

Life on Earth, came from other planets.







Meteors & Origins of Life.
Alien Invasions from the Stars