Astronomical Origins of Life
Steps Towards Panspermia
by Fred Hoyle and N.C. Wickramasinghe.
Kluwer Academic Publishers, 324 pages, 1999, $156.
Book Review from ICAMSR
The unfolding story of the search for life in the universe has been getting
more interesting on a daily basis. Are we on the verge of a new bio-cosmic
renaissance? New scientific evidence supporting the notion that meteorites
can transfer microbial spores from other planets is now becoming well
established in the scientific literature. Researchers now suspect that hardy
microbial spores can survive journeys between planets of up to 100,000 years
protected from lethal solar UV and galactic radiation while sequestered
safely within meteors. The cutting edge pioneering work that Wickramasinghe
and Hoyle have proposed for many years is represented in Astronomical Origins
of Life by their research papers spanning decades. Chandra Wickramasinghe,
Sir Fred Hoyle and NASA's Richard Hoover are among the authors that
contribute to the books thesis: that microbial spores are not only
occasionally being exchanged between planets like Earth or Mars, but actually
have their origins as ancient spores frozen, dormant spores while adrift
within interstellar clouds, then later becoming entrapped and protected
within cometary ices, perhaps even dividing and growing as their interiors
are warmed by stars. Their hypothesis suggests life from space then become
deposited on all planets, dropped onto them from the depths of space by
riding in on cometary dust particles. If proven correct, this theory would be
the most profound revelation in scientific history because it would mean that
the entire cosmos is filled with life awaiting arrival to solar systems and
their habitable planets where it can take hold and evolve to higher forms.
Copyright © 2001 ICAMSR.