What'sNEW Jan - Mar 2018
Venus' Spectral Signatures and the Potential for Life in the Clouds by Sanjay S. Limaye et al., Astrobiology, online 30 Mar 2018.
On the possibility of microbiota transfer from Venus to Earth by N.C. Wickramasinghe and J.T. Wickramasinghe, Astrophys Space Sci, online 22 Jul 2008.
— Pictured: a "Venus Atmospheric Maneuverable Platform," proposed to sample Venus' cloud layer for up to a year.
The DNA of bacteria of the World Ocean and the Earth in cosmic dust at the International Space Station by T. V. Grebennikova et al., The Scientific World Journal, accepted 08 Mar 2018.
02 Dec 2017 and 29 May 2017: earlier reports from Russia.
...Analysis of Interstellar Dust has historical information. Thanks, Chandra Wickramasinghe.
Life as a Cosmic Phenomenon... (.doc), historical perspective by Chandra Wickramasinghe, 20 Mar 2018.
...the return of panspermia, informed commentary by Stephen Fleischfresser, Cosmos, 26 Apr 2018.
Professor John Lattanzio asks, "indisputable?" Ted Steele and other coauthors reply, 20-21 May 2018.
Mature Extraterrestrial Biology in Astrophysical Phenomena: Steele et al. replyto R Duggleby, online 09 Nov 2018.
follow-on comments by John Elder, NewDaily, Australia, 12 Jan 2019.
Timing of oceans on Mars from shoreline deformation by Robert I. Citron, Michael Manga & Douglas J. Hemingway, Nature, 19 Mar 2018.
Oceans on Mars formed early by Maria T. Zuber, Nature, 28 Mar 2018.
Ancient Oceans on Mars Maybe Older and Shallower Than Thought (with 4.5 min.video), by Charles Q. Choi, Space.com, 19 Mar 2018.
Thanks, Stan Franklin. Life on Mars! has more about water there.
Spectra of Earth-like Planets Through Geological Evolution Around FGKM Stars by Sarah Rugheimer and Lisa Kaltenegger, arXiv.org > astro-ph > arXiv:1712.10027, 28 Dec 2017.
Bacteria... has more about extremophiles. Gaia has more about the evolution of biospheres, especially ours.
Life on Europa, Other Moons, Other Planets?... has links to clues about life elsewhere.
Nature, formation, and distribution of carbonates on Ceres by F.G. Carrozzo et al., Science Advances, 02 Mar 2018.
Dwarf planet Ceres has a water cycle but it's not like Earth's by Leah Crane, New Scientist, 14 Mar 2018.
Thanks, Stan Franklin. 17 Feb 2017: more about Ceres. Life on Europa... has related links.
Celebrating Viking: Gilbert Levin Recalls the Search for Life on Mars by David Warmflash, Discover, 20 Jul 2016. Life on Mars! has more.
Thanks, George Nickas, for the link to this important interview.
Study finds a life form on Earth that may do fine on icy Enceladus, by Deborah Netburn, latimes.com, 27 Feb 2018; and:
...at least one kind of microbe could survive in conditions like those within the moon. ...Life on Enceladus by Paul Gilster, Centauri Dreams, 02 Mar 2018; re:
Biological methane production under putative Enceladus-like conditions by Ruth-Sophie Taubner et al., Nature Communications, online 27 Feb 2018.
Life on Europa... has related links. Bacteria... has lots about their capabilities.
Interstellar Chemistry endorses methane as a sign of life.
Thanks for links, Robert Sweeney, Stan Franklin and Google Alerts.
Microbes from Space... by Chandra Wickramasinghe, received 01 Mar 2018. Life on Mars! has more.
The timescale of early land plant evolution by Jennifer L. Morris et al., PNAS, online 20 Feb 2018.
Land plants arose earlier than thought... by Elizabeth Pennisi, Science News, 19 Feb 2018.
Metazoan Genes Older Than Metazoa? has lots more about genes that seem older than they should be.
Genes Older Than Earth? has evidence for a radical suggestion.
Phylogenetic analysis of the core histone doublet and DNA topo II genes of Marseilleviridae: Evidence of proto-eukaryotic provenance by Albert J. Erives, Epigenetics & Chromatin, 28 Nov 2017.
Giant viruses may play an intriguing role in evolution of life on Earth by Richard C. Lewis, The University of Iowa (+ScienceDaily), 01 Feb 2018. Thanks, Martin Langford and Stan Franklin.
Giant Viruses May Have Played Important Role in Evolution of Life, Sci-News, 14 Feb 2018.
Viruses... points to more examples of viruses carrying genes they apparently don't need, but eukaryotes do.
Implications of Captured Interstellar Objects for Panspermia and Extraterrestrial Life by Manasvi Lingam and Abraham Loeb, arXiv.org>astro-ph>arXiv:1801.10254, accepted 01 Feb (+pdf draft, 16 Oct) 2018.
Interstellar Asteroids Like 'Oumuamua Could Rewrite the Origins of Life on Earth, Gizmodo, 08 Feb 2018.
01 Nov 2017 and 22 Dec 2017: our first reports about this asteroid. Thanks, Google Alerts & Tom Mazanec.
An ancient virus could be responsible for human consciousness: 4-min. facebook video, posted 08 Feb 2018, re:
Arc protein derived from a virus; see 13 Jan 2018. Thanks, Paul Ringger, Jr. & Greg Irwin.
This news comes from an international team who sampled the air weekly or bi-weekly from two mountain sites 3 km high in southern Spain. They found that bacteria and viruses above the atmospheric boundary layer are more abundant, can persist longer and can travel farther than previously known. They observe that the particles come from the ocean or from deserts, with transport variously affected by weather. And they remark, Rather than being a negative consequence, this deposition provides a seed bank that should allow ecosystems to rapidly adapt to environmental changes. The same atmospheric dispersal of viruses and bacteria could also facilitate panspermia from beyond Earth, we notice. Deposition rates of viruses and bacteria above the atmospheric boundary layer by Isabel Reche et al., doi:10.1038/s41396-017-0042-4, ISME Journal, 29 Jan 2018.
Viruses - lots of them - are falling from the sky, University of British Columbia (+ScienceDaily), 06 Feb 2018. Billions of Viruses Are Falling to Earth... by Mindy Weisberger, LiveScience, 07 Feb 2018. Viruses modulate the function and evolution of of all living things....
... Most viruses and bacteria fall from the sky, University of Granada (+Astrobiology Web), 01 Mar 2018.
Trillions Upon Trillions of Viruses Fall From the Sky Each Day by Jim Robbins, The New York Times, 13 Apr 2018.
Thanks for links, Bill Smith, Chandra Wickramasinghe, Ted Steele, Ronnie McGhee, John Hughes and Rob Schick.
Thanks for the full paper [local pdf], coauthor Curtis Suttle. Viruses... has lots more.
Bashing holes in the tale of Earth's troubled youth: New analyses undermine a popular theory about an intense asteroid storm 4 billion years ago, by Adam Mann, Nature, 24 Jan 2018.
December 2, 2000: our account of the "late heavy bombardment".
Astrobiologist Named NASA Planetary Protection Officer, Indiana University (+Newswise), 18 Jan 2018. Introduction: More Than Panspermia has some relevant history.
HERV-W group evolutionary history in non-human primates: characterization of ERV-W orthologs in Catarrhini and related ERV groups in Platyrrhini by Nicole Grandi et al., doi:10.1186/s12862-018-1125-1, BMC Evolutionary Biology, online 19 Jan 2018. Viruses... is the main related local webpage.
This matter-of-fact heading comes in a well-referenced review article by three expert virologists. They confirm this once-radical notion with accumulated knowledge that needs to be more widely recognized. For example, ...the successful transfer of novel viral genes into host genomes is likely commonplace. ...the human genome contains between 8% and 40% virus derived sequences, some of which have been beneficial for human development. (Recognized protein-coding genes occupy less than 2% of the human genome.)
They also remind us that viral genes are mostly unknown. Many viral genomes contain genes that have no homologs except in closely related viruses. ...A recent analysis of all published viral DNA metagenomes found that nearly 70% of virus-associated genes were novel. We think viral genes might enable future life here to evolve in ways we cannot foresee.
Commentary by Alex Barasch, Slate, 17 Jan 2018. Viruses... is the main related local webpage.
Commentary by Sarah Wild, posted on Space.com, 26 May 2018. Thanks for a link, Ronnie McGhee.
Cells hack virus-like protein to communicate, Nature News, 11 Jan 2018; re:
The Neuronal Gene Arc Encodes a Repurposed Retrotransposon Gag Protein that Mediates Intercellular RNA Transfer by Elissa D. Pastuzyn et al., doi:10.1016/j.cell.2017.12.024; and: Retrovirus-like Gag Protein Arc1 Binds RNA and Traffics across Synaptic Boutons by James Ashley, Benjamin Cordy et al., doi:10.1016/j.cell.2017.12.022, Cell, 11 Jan 2017.
An Ancient Virus May Be Responsible for Human Consciousness by Rafi Letzter, Live Science, 02 Feb 2018.
Thanks for links, Peggy Sparks Lake and Google Alerts. 08 Feb 2018: a related facebook video.
Viruses and Other Gene Transfer Mechanisms has many more examples of viruses advancing eukaryotic evolution.
Mars methane rises and falls with the seasons by Eric Hand, Science, 05 Jan 2018. Life on Mars! has more.
An interdisciplinary collaboration of Japanese and American scientists make this observation following their study of 4.5 billion-year-old, millimeter-sized blue salt crystals from two meteorites. Using state-of-the-art instruments, the analysts propose mechanisms to account for the amino acids and other organics (see right), and the varied isotope ratios observed. Lead author Queenie Chan says, Everything leads to the conclusion that the origin of life is really possible elsewhere.
Their suppositions and conclusion follow the standard assumption that all evidence from space is pre-biotic. But evidence like amino acids in meteorites might also be explained with actual biology, as they almost admit.Organic matter in extraterrestrial water-bearing salt crystals, doi:10.1126/sciadv.aao3521, by Queenie H. S. Chan et al., Science Advances, 10 Jan 2018.
Ingredients for Life Revealed in Meteorites That Fell to Earth, by Glenn Roberts Jr., Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (+Newswise), updated 11 Jan 2018. Thanks, Tom Fulton and Stan Franklin.
Comets and ...Interstellar Dust are related webpages. 17 Feb 2017 & 15 Mar 2018: more about Ceres.