Saturday, December 29, 2012

Red Rain Revisit

We are revisiting the Red Rain phenomena. First it is the only specific phenom that does conform to the Panspermia hypothesis although one may presume an earlier report inspired the original hypothesis since the color red was associated with the idea.

This report informs us that integrity is retained up to 300 C. This excludes any Earth borne explanation unless it so happens that a slime mold gets up there and is cooked off. That does not work either because integrity at 300 C is difficult to achieve with carbon based molecules.

This now begs the question of why here unless it is simply unique. Then it is a case of simple luck.

What happened is that a meteorite burst took place in the Stratosphere and resultant material then descended onto Southern India as it was washed out of the lower atmosphere with rain over a period of several weeks. This is no longer controversial.

I conjecture that these cells are living travel cells that expel their contents on contact with water. Thus we get the yellow rain. We also see reports of what appear to be micro cells. In the meantime all components demonstrate auto-luminescence.

What this is is an outright demonstration of the transmittal of complex organic material through space.

Next time around, I suggest that we get up there and sample the material before it drifts down into the atmosphere. If this proves feasible then we should gain a lot of critical data.

I would love to know just what the cell walls are.

A rare shower of red rain fell for about 15 minutes in the city of Kannur, Kerala, India, early on June 28. Local residents were perturbed, but this is not the first time the state has experienced colored rain.

This strange phenomenon was first recorded in Kerala a few hours after a meteor airburst in July 2001, when a space rock exploded in the atmosphere. More than 120 such rain showers were reported that year, including yellow, green, and black ones. [ it took a lot of time to leach out of the upper atmosphere were air flow is possibly no issue. This part of India just happened to be in the landing envelope - arclein ]

Astrobiologist Godfrey Louis, pro vice-chancellor at nearby Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), has studied samples of red rainwater in 2001 and discovered strange properties, including autofluorescence—light that is naturally emitted by cell structures like mitochondria.

Scientific analysis showed the striking red coloration is due to microscopic particles resembling biological cells, possibly originating from comet fragments.

Louis believes these cells could be extra-terrestrial because existing theories already hypothe

Such comets can break into fragments as they near the sun during their travel along highly elliptical orbits,” he told The Epoch Times via email. “These fragments can remain in orbit and later can enter Earth’s atmosphere periodically.”

According to Louis, red particles in the atmosphere from a fragmented meteor probably seeded the red rain clouds.


A red cell as seen with transmission electron microscopy. (Godfrey Louis/CUSAT)

There can be roughly of the order of 100 million cells in one liter of red rain water,” he said. “The red rain can appear like black coffee if the concentration of the cells increases in the rain water.”

These “alien” cells resemble normal cells, but lack conventional biological molecules like DNA, and are expected to have different biochemistry.

Unlike other biological cells, these red rain microbes can withstand very high temperatures,” Louis explained. ”It is possible to culture them at temperatures as high as 300 degrees centigrade [572 degrees Fahrenheit].”

[ These are then surely not earth based but may be stratosphere based - arclein]

Even the toughest known heat-loving bacteria on Earth cannot withstand the same hot conditions as the red cells.

Currently known conventional hyper-thermophilic microbes do not survive culturing beyond 122 degrees centigrade [252 degrees Fahrenheit].”

Louis has also studied yellow rain, and says it contains some unknown dissolved materials but no red cells.

Yellow rain and red rain are related as both show an unusual characteristic: autofluorescence,” he said. “It is inferred that the materials dissolved in the yellow rain are the biological byproducts of these micro-organisms.”

Researchers are attempting to identify the molecular components in the red cells and to provide more insights into colored rain.

Read Louis’ research paper on the red rains in 2001 here.

Cometary panspermia explains the red rain of Kerala

Godfrey Louis & A. Santhosh Kumar

School of Pure and Applied Physics, Mahatma Gandhi University,
Kottayam – 686560, Kerala, India.

Date: October 5, 2003

Red coloured rain occurred in many places of Kerala in India during July to September 2001 due to the mixing of huge quantity of microscopic red cells in the rainwater. Considering its correlation with a meteor airbust event, this phenomenon raised an extraordinary question whether the cells are extraterrestrial. Here we show how the observed features of the red rain phenomenon can be explained by considering the fragmentation and atmospheric disintegration of a fragile cometary body that presumably contains a dense collection of red cells. Slow settling of cells in the stratosphere explains the continuation of the phenomenon for two months. The red cells under study appear to be the resting spores of an extremophilic microorganism. Possible presence of these cells in the interstellar clouds is speculated from its similarity in UV absorption with the 217.5 nm UV extinction feature of interstellar clouds. Keywords: astrobiology, exobiology, panspermia, extraterrestrial life & red rain.

1. Introduction

Panspermia, the theory that the seeds of life are every where in the Universe has been gaining more support recently on the basis of several new findings. Modern version of panspermia considers comets as the delivery vehicles that spread life throughout a galaxy .

. Comets can protect cells from UV and cosmic radiation damage and cometscan drop cells high in the atmosphere to float gently down

. Paleogeochemical evidence show that life appeared on Earth as early as 3,800 million years ago or even before that, immediately following the Earths surface cooling. This gives too short a time for the evolution of life to take place from simple precursor molecules to the level of prokaryotic and photoautotropic cells and it leads to the argument that life has earlier originated elsewhere and then it was transported to primitive Earth

. There is evidence to show that microbial life can remain in a resting phase for millions of years, which can enable them to make long space travel

. There is also the possibility of liquid water in comets, which could support active life in comets

. Some of the observational data from comets have also been interpreted as evidence to prove biological content in2 Cometary panspermia explains the red rain of Kerala comets

. In the extreme conditions in comets, if not in active state, life can be expected to be present as spores. Spores in the dormant state, undergo no detectable metabolism and exhibit a high degree of resistance to inactivation by various physical insults

. Thus the most possible means by which microorganisms can arrive in a planet after a journey in space must be as spores. Considering the universal nature of biochemistry, the chemical makeup of extraterrestrial life forms can be expected to be similar to the one found on Earth.

Recently there have been a few claims of finding extraterrestrial life. McKey et al. have found structures similar to microfossils of nanobacteria in a Martian meteorite, which was interpreted as evidence for life in Mars. To test the idea of cometary panspermia, Narliker et al. have performed a stratospheric sample collection experiment using a balloon and found microorganisms in the air samples collected over Hyderabad in India at various heights up to 41 km. Wickramasinghe et al., argue that these microorganisms are of extraterrestrial origin and consider this finding as evidence to vindicate the idea of cometary panspermia.
In this paper we open a new finding in support of cometary panspermia. A study of the red rain phenomenon show that the microscopic cells that coloured the rainwater originated most possibly from a cometary meteor that disintegrated in the upper atmosphere above Kerala on 25th July 2001. A physical study of the cells indicate that the cells are spores of an extremophilic microorganism and hence we argue that the red rain phenomenon of Kerala is a case of cometary panspermia and the red cells are the first clear example of life beyond Earth. Though this claim is extraordinary, there appears no other less extraordinary way to explain the mystery of red rain in Kerala.

The red rain Phenomenon

The mysterious red rain phenomenon occurred over different parts of Kerala, a State in India. The news reports of this phenomenon appeared in Nature and various newspapers and other media and are currently carried by several websites . The red coloured rain first occurred at Changanacherry in Kottayam district on 25th July 2001 and continued to occur with diminishing frequency in Kottayam and other places in Kerala for about two months. The red colouring of the rainwater was found to be
entirely due to the p resence of tiny red cells about 10 micrometers in size, which appeared dispersed in rainwater. These cells had some similarity in appearance with alga cells. From the magnitude of the phenomenon, it can be estimated that several thousands of kilograms of these cells are required to be there in the atmosphere to [Godfrey Louis & A. Santhosh Kumar] account for all the red rain. From where the huge quantities of these cells originate and how they reach the rain clouds to cause red rain for two months is found to be a mystery. In majority of cases the colour of the rain was red. There were a few cases of yellow rain and rare unconfirmed cases of other colours like black, green, grey etc.

Coloured hailstones were another reported case. It is easy and non-controversial to dismiss this phenomenon without much study by stating some conventional, simple and unproved reasons like: dust from Sahara, pollen grains, volcanic dust from distant volcanoes, fungal spores from trees, algae from sea and factory pollution etc. But a closer examination of the features of this phenomenon and the properties of the cells show that these kinds of reasons are not valid.

A study of the distribution of the red rain incidences with location and time was done using the data available on this phenomenon. This data was mostly compiled from the reports that appeared in local leading Malayalam language newspapers, which have an extensive network of reporters covering all parts of Kerala. In many cases photographs of the collected rainwater were given with the news item. Being an unusual phenomenon the local press have given much importance to this. Still there can be
several cases where people have not reported the incidence to the press. Also there can be several cases, which went unobserved by the people, such as the cases, which occurred during night. But the available data is sufficient to show the trend and nature of the phenomenon (See supplementary information for a list of red rain incidences with time and place).

A plot (Fig.1a) of the number of coloured rain incidences in Kerala on different dates shows that about 75% of the total 124 listed cases occurred during the first 10 days. A plot (Fig.1b) of the average rainfall data of Kerala enclosing the coloured rain period from 25th July to 23rd

September 2001, demonstrates that the coloured rain started suddenly during a period of rainfall in the State. Thus the cells are not something which accumulated in the atmosphere during a dry period and washed down on a first rain. It was found that several cases of red rain phenomenon have occurred on rainy days after and during normal rains. Thus it cannot be again assumed that the red cells came from some accumulation in the lower atmosphere. The vessels kept in open space also collected red rain. Thus it is not something that is washed out from rooftops or tree leaves. It appears as if the rain clouds in some region are suddenly mixed with red cells.

It may be argued that the cells arrived here, from a distant source like a desert in another part of the world, through some wind system. But in such a system it is hard to explain the repeated delivery of these cells to target over a few districts in Kerala for two months while not over other adjacent States in India, despite the changes in climatic conditions and wind pattern spanning over two months.

When the red rain reports are viewed in the background of the normal rainfall data the pattern that emerges is that of a sudden starting of red rain reports after 25th July 2001 and then a gradual decay of reports with time. A gap in the red rain reports is due to the absence of rainfall in the State during that period. If cell clouds are created in the stratosphere at various heights by a mechanism of meteor fragmentation and disintegration then clouds of such cells can slowly settle down to the rain clouds to give such a pattern of red rain. This idea is elaborated with some actual calculations in the
next section.

The geographical distribution of the red rain cases (Fig.1c.) shows a clustering of cases in Kottayam and neighbouring districts like Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam, Idukki and Alappuzha with abrupt decrease towards the south and gradual decrease towards the north. This distribution over the geographical area can be explained by considering the path and the location of final airbust of the meteor. This idea is also elaborated in the following section.


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