« Another Silly Quiz | Main | No Placating Here: "Contract Of Wifely Expectations" Specifies Spouse's Behavior »
February 22, 2006

Space Shuttle Crash Proves Possibility of Panspermia, Or Life From The Stars?

Out of tragedy, discovery?

Bacteria survived Columbia explosion, sparking scientific leap

Researcher finds evidence to support ancient theory.

By Miguel Liscano
Wednesday, February 22, 2006

SAN MARCOS β€” When the space shuttle Columbia broke apart over East Texas in 2003, killing all seven astronauts aboard, Texas State University biology professor Robert McLean thought his bacterial experiment package on board had been destroyed. Then it was found mostly intact in a Nacogdoches convenience store parking lot and returned to him.

Now he says it's evidence that furthers a theory called panspermia: the hypothesis that life can travel through space by hitchhiking from one world to another on meteorites.

After the accident, when McLean inspected his experiment, he found that a strain of bacteria called Microbispora had survived the fiery descent through Earth's atmosphere.


"This organism appears to have survived an atmospheric passage, with the heat and the force of impact," McLean said in a written statement. "This is important for panspermia, because if something survives space travel, it eventually has to get down to the Earth and survive passage through the atmosphere and impact."

McLean says his findings do not prove panspermia because the bacteria traveled about a fifth of the speed that a meteorite would travel. But, he said, it was at least six times faster than anything tested before.

Other scientists are skeptical, however, and say McLean has to answer two key questions:

1) Where did this life-from-the-stars supposedly originate from?

And, more importantly,

2) why does "re-entry-surviving bacteria" found in the convenience store parking lot so closely resemble nachos with hot pepperjack cheese and a cherry slushee?

Thanks to SWOOD.

digg this
posted by Ace at 09:52 PM

| Access Comments

Recent Comments
Aetius451AD Work Laptop: "They're the ones getting sprayed with your spittle ..."

Deplorable Jay Guevara [/i][/b][/s]: "[i]As a yungun and a pitcher, I did that too. A li ..."

rickl: "I bought a .22 conversion kit for my Kimber 1911 . ..."

BackwardsBoy likes lobster [/i][/s][/b]: "[I]I'm sorry for your loss. [/I] Same here, C ..."

Deplorable Jay Guevara [/i][/b][/s]: "[i]Some people have The Voice. I think I only ..."

flounder, rebel, vulgarian, deplorable, winner: "So I have neither dignity nor money. Yay me. Post ..."

Your Decidedly Devious Uncle Palpatine, 501st Kremlin Jewbot Gvardii: "Nespatnik has Adibas track suit because still in t ..."

Calm Mentor: "(I used to do that in pitching in baseball. "That ..."

CaliGirl: "I used to do that in pitching in baseball. "That i ..."

NaughtyPine : "Always plenty of time to arm yourself, NP... Until ..."

Insomniac - Nowhere Man: "Projection with a relaxed and confident manner is ..."

Aetius451AD Work Laptop: "(I used to do that in pitching in baseball. "That ..."

Recent Entries

Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64