CHANDRA WICKRAMASINGHE SAYS THERE IS CONTEMPORARY LIFE ON THE RED PLANET MARS
By Walter Jayawardhana
Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe , acclaimed astrobiologist from Cardiff
University ,Wales said the discovery of water on planet Mars combined
with other discoveries point to the existence of life on the planet.
In an interview he said, The discovery of liquid water on Mars
combined with earlier discoveries of organic substances in a meteorite
that came from Mars, and also of methane in the Martian atmosphere all
point to the existence of life contemporary life - on the Red
I am not speaking of fossilized life but contemporary life,
Professor Wickramasinghe , is the worlds leading proponent of Panspermia, which suggests that all planets including earth in the universe have been seeded for life by microbes from outer space. He recently said such life could even exist on the upper layer of the clouds of Venus and could be blown out to earth by solar wind. Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe and Dr Janaki Wickramasinghe (his daughter) of the Cardiff Astrobiology Center claim that Venus's clouds contain chemicals that exist with the presence of micro organisms. "Our research proposes that the two sisters, Earth and Venus may be biologically interconnected as well," Wickramasinghe added.
The Cardiff University based astrobiology researcher is of the opinion
hat the delay in announcing the discovery of life on Mars is more sociological
and political rather than scientific. He said, So why the reluctance
to admit unequivocally the presence of contemporary life on Mars? I
think there could be political and sociological considerations at work.
Firstly, if life was already detected, then there is no need to spend
vast sums of money to continue the search! Secondly, there is a lot
of scientific interest nowadays in bringing back samples of Martian
soil to Earth at the cost of 10s of billions of dollars, and there
is a lobby that says if microbes exist on Mars we should not be doing
this! It could pose a biohazard. Planetary Protection and consequent
litigation if infective organisms are brought back could constitute
major concerns to the authorities.
He argued, Over the past two decades organic molecules, including bio-chemicals,
have been found to be widespread in the Universe. And of course there
is also evidence for the widespread occurrence of the water molecule
in cosmic dust clouds and on planets. The juxtaposition of organics
and water, Wickramasinghe said, on a planetary object is nowadays argued
as being a condition leading eventually to the beginnings of life. Yet,
the process or processes by which non-living organic molecules turn
into life are still unknown to science.
The thesis of the ready emergence of life from organic molecules is in my view a mistaken remit of modern astrobiology. Much more likely, in my view, we are witnessing everywhere in the Universe, biology in action living microbes as well as their detritus, and break up molecules in the form of interstellar organic molecules. This is the conclusion that consensus astrobiology is striving to avoid. But in the fullness of time the thesis of life everywhere it can survive will be as obvious to future generations as the sun being the centre of the solar system is obvious to the present generation.
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