From: Stig Agermose <stig.agermose.nul> Date: Thu, 07 Nov 2002 07:50:33 +0100 Archived: Thu, 07 Nov 2002 12:51:02 -0400 Subject: Details Of ET Microbes Source: The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/cms.dll/html/uncomp/articleshow?artid=26403010 Stig *** Signs2: Move over M. Night Shyamalan TIMES NEWS NETWORK SUNDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2002 12:48:16 AM ** PUNE: Is there life, other than us, out there in the vast expanse of the cosmos? Celebrated Hollywood director M. Shyamalan may have probed the question with his latest thriller Signs. But if recent experiments conducted by Indian scientists are anything to go by, then extraterrestrial life (ET) may very much turn out to be a reality. This was revealed on Friday by legendary Indian astrophysicist Jayant Naralikar, who supervised the experiments last year. He was delivering a lecture titled 'Searches for extra-terrestrial life' before a packed auditorium at the Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA). Naralikar said there was indeed circumstantial evidence to support the idea of life beyond earth. Millimetre wave astronomy had revealed the existence of both organic and in organic molecules in space, he added. Over the decades scientists weighed the options of sending spaceships and unmanned probes to seek out ET life. "Sending radio messages (with information about us) turned out to be the most practical one, but it required immense patience," Naralikar said. Fred Hoyle and Wickremasinghe propounded the theory that comets could have been the carriers which delivered micro organisms in frozen state on earth. "The Cryosampler Experiment conducted in collaboration with ISRO last January was a fallout of the theory", said Naralikar. Elaborating on the experiment, the ace astrophysicist said a balloon carrying a cryosampler with 16 sterilised probes was sent to a height of 41 km into the atmosphere from the TIFR Balloon facility in Hyderabad. The probes sucked air at four different heights which were filtered and later tested at laboratories. "Some bacteria were found in the air samples. These were not common contaminants. Nor had they been used in the laboratory where the test was held. Moreover, no such growth was found on control membranes that were not exposed to the air samples," he underlined. "If these micro organisms are not from earth, had we intercepted extraterrestrial life?" Narlikar wondered aloud, adding that further confirmatory work was in progress to help arrive at a satisfactory answer. Earlier, Arvind Paranjpye, science and technology officer of the public outreach programme at IUCAA, welcomed the gathering. Naralikar's lecture marked the beginning of a monthly series, he announced. ** Copyright 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved.
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