September 17, 2006

Life Everywhere

The Milky Way is about 100,000 light-years in diameter. The universe as we know contains about a 1000 billion galaxies. From time to time large objects from space hit all planets as well as the Earth. Small objects fall to Earth quite often, we call then shooting stars or meteorites, and they are just tiny asteroids. Some are made of rock and others are lumps of iron. Comets come from deep space and are frozen lumps of rock and ice. They have cool cores of ice and it is these that bring new genetic codes to earth from the cosmos on a regular basis, just as they do to other planets. When large comets hit a planet some material splashes out to create new objects in the heaven. Some of these carry away genetic codes to the cosmos. Thus we end up with a universe that has the code of life everywhere in the cosmos, ready to spring to life with the scent of moisture.

How can you prove that the universe is filled with this code of life? One may deduce that easily from the spectrum of light absorbed and scattered by interstellar dust. One can prove this from the fossils of comets too. Amino acids were found in samples returned by every one of the Apollo missions that landed on the moon. Elaborate precautions taken on one mission enabled NASA to rule out contamination. A number of balloon flights were made in the US during the middle-1960s, extending up to 25 miles, not to the top of the stratosphere but well up into it. In all cases, to the surprise of the experimenters themselves, living bacteria were found.

When life comes from space, it has to travel over distances measured in light-years. This travel could take millions of years, even billions of years. For this to be possible, the traveling cells would have to be able to survive for that long. They would have to be immortal and bacteria are immortal. Even 600-million-year-old halophiles locked in salt crystals remain viable. In fact, the apparent immortality of bacteria, even without freezing, is widely known. And with freezing, as occurs in space, the immortality of bacteria is ensured.Genes needed for evolutionary progress are imported to planets in bacterial spores. After arrival, these genes reside in bacteria, as silent DNA, before installation into the species where they will ultimately become useful. That is, bacteria contain silent genes that they do not need, but that higher forms of life do need. Are there any examples of this on earth?

In August 1996, Science carried a write-up by the group of scientists who had just obtained the complete sequence of the genome of the archaebacterium. Among the surprises contained in the genome of M. jannaschii were five genes for histones. Histones are essential proteins used by eukaryotic cells to help form their complex chromosomal structure. Neither eubacteria nor archaebacteria are known to use histones. Two of the five histone genes are not part of the main circular chromosome, but are carried on a much smaller "extra chromosomal element, because viral genomes must temporarily become a kind of extra chromosomal element before the process of transduction from one cell to another. Two of the histone genes in this archaebacterium are ready to be transducted to a higher form of life where they can be useful.
To quote Chandra Wickramasinghe from a trial in Arkansas,
“In studying the spectral behavior of micro-organisms in the laboratory we next noted that a diagnostic thumbprint of biology existed over the 3.4 micrometer waveband as shown in Exhibit 2. We then compared laboratory data with the observed behavior of infrared absorption for a star at the center of our galaxy and found the remarkably close correspondence between microbiology and astronomy. Bacteria seemed therefore to be present on a galaxy-wide scale. These identifications are, in the view of Sir Fred Hoyle and myself, as decisive as any that could be obtained from a comparison between laboratory data and astronomical observations. The failure on the part of most scientists today to recognize such obvious facts owes in large measure to the early indoctrination in Darwinism.”
Thus it is that life arrives on planets from space in genetic codes carried by bacteria. These are transferred to life forms through viruses that emerge from these bacteria. It is the reason that insects respond to ultraviolet light of wavelengths too short to be found on our planet, now or at any time in the past when life was possible. They carry genes useful on other planets.

1 comment:

Avinash said...

A most candid and plausible view of genes propagating themselves and programming evolution of species. Makes for a very intriuging contemplation.

Modern science has given us a rather errie perception of ourselves in the general scheme of life in the universe. Many humanists would find this a very difficult view to swallow and will be looking for some kind of spiritual essence, maybe intangible, that would differentiate humans from the inanimate rest of the universe.

How does anima come from matter ?

To me, it seems as if we are survival machines - robot mechanisms blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known to us as 'genes'. This is a truth that still fills me with astonishment, ever since watching the movie "The Matrix". Though I feel this since years, I am not fully used to it.

From primal mist of matter to spiraled galaxies, from molten rock to earth and air and water, sensation to perception, memory to consciousness - humans hold a mirror to themselves - in that consciousness becomes conscious of itself. The general growth of evolution, increasing awareness, matter to mind to consciousness appears merely to be the guiding force and the motive for selfish genes playing their mysterious games propagating through the universe.