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Bizzare & Odd

Mysterious ‘Red rain’ Scientists wonder whether it’s extraterrestrial

Michael Crichton in his 1969 novel The Andromeda Strain deals with a deadly extraterrestrial microorganism that rapidly and fatally clots human blood. A military satellite designed to capture upper-atmosphere microorganisms upon reentering the Earth wreaks havoc in Piedmont, Arizona, where the satellite lands. This may not seem like the stuff sci-fi anymore, now with some leading scientists claiming that the microorganism found in ‘red rain’ in Sri Lanka is of extraterrestrial origin.
Red rain which caused fear and panic in four different areas in the country namely, Monaragala, Polonnaruwa, Sewanagala and Manampitiya leaving red frost in the latter two districts, continue to baffle local scientists still studying samples of the freak showers. Similar showers of ‘blood rain’ were experienced in Kerala, South India during  two consecutive months from July to September this year, spawning several scientific  and non-scientific theories with regarding to its origin.
So from where exactly does this mysterious rain originate? Is it from the earth whose natural elements we are familiar with having growing in these environments since the day we were born? Or from some extraterrestrial origins we are completely alien to? Was Sri Lanka’s best known expatriate resident, Sir Arthur C Clarke was correct when he said that alien life existed wishing that he would live to see proof of this before his death? Are we at the brink of a close encounter with aliens, which has coincided with many other strange happenings occurring both here and in other parts of the world? For example the mysterious allergies in school children, the cause of which scientists are still trying to work out.
Does the red rain have a cosmic ancestry – a hypothesis first trotted out by Godfrey Louis and Santhosh Kumar (of Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam) in a paper that won world recognition, which pointed to higher life forms including intelligent life? In a bid to allegedly prevent ‘bio-scientific problems in the future’ to quote a leading state paper, the Health Ministry is to dispatch six doctors to the affected areas. The same paper states that further studies by the Industrial Technology Institute and  Nano Technology Institute also found the algae was harmless and had no impact on human health.
Meanwhile scientists studying samples of the red water at the Medical Research Institute and other institutes such as the Industrial Technological Institute (ITI) and universities told The Nation that they have yet to come to a definite conclusion, although not ruling out algae as a possible cause.While Health Ministry officials claim that the microorganisms contained in the ‘red rain’ is Trachelomonas, Medical Research Institute (MRI) Microbiologist Dr Sujatha Pathirage said that the microorganisms are usually found in contaminated water.
“This is a very rare and unusual occurrence as we have never experienced red rain in this country before. But whatever microorganisms we have been looking at, appear to be living natural organisms usually found in contaminated water, which we can’t co-relate to the red rain,” said Dr Pathirage.No definite conclusion has been reached by scientists studying the red rain samples in neighboring Kerala, either. “Kerala scientists have two theories which we share: That the red rain has been caused by algae from the ocean or from an asteroid from outer space,” she told this writer in a telephone interview.
“Like us they too have yet to come to a definite conclusion as to its source.” She nevertheless admitted that in all probability it could be algae. “However I will be able to make a comment based on facts by next week when we expect the findings from samples we sent to the other institutes.” She did add however that, “with the drastic climatic changes we are now experiencing, we can expect anything.”
Unlike in Sri Lanka, Kerala, red rain is by no means a rare phenomenon. Colored rain in fact has been reported in Kerala as early as 1896 and several times since then. The longest ‘blood rain’ showers were experienced in 2001 when rain of multi-colored hues   of yellow, green, black and red were reported for three consecutive months from July 25 to September 23, staining clothes and water as well as vegetation, according to news reports.
The most recent of these red showers was in July this year, lasting for one week. It was initially thought that the rains were colored by fallout from a hypothetical meteor, but a study commissioned by the Government of India is said to have concluded that the rains had been colored by airborne spores from locally prolific terrestrial algae. Several groups of researchers analyzed the chemical elements in the solid particles and different techniques of study gave similar results. The particles were composed mostly of carbon and oxygen with lesser amounts of hydrogen, nitrogen, silicon, chlorine and metals. In an interview with The Nation last July, Buckingham University UK, Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology Director and Cardiff University Prof Chandra Wickramasinghe claimed that life could have hitched a ride on a comet to earth and evolved into the thousands of species that now inhabit the earth. Writing to The Nation regarding the ‘red rain’, Prof Wickramasinghe says, “We have not examined any samples of the red rain of Sri Lanka, but I have seen some electron micrographs of this material that were sent to me by scientists at the MRI.”
“At first sight it looks uncannily similar to the Kerala red rain which my colleagues and I have been investigating for over five years. The red cells causing the redness of the Kerala rain are undoubtedly biological cells resembling algae. But so far their attempts to identify this known terrestrial algae have proved difficult. We conclude that they have all the characteristics of an alien microorganism.”He added that the only reason that scientists have tended to dismiss this possibility is because it is held that life is a purely the Earth-based affair with life originating on our planet four billion years ago.
“According to him extraterrestrial life is considered by many to be an ‘extraordinary hypothesis’ that needs extraordinary evidence to support it. “Not only is the evidence for panspermia (hypothesis that life exists throughout the universe, distributed by meteoroids, asteroids and planetoids) and extraterrestrial microbes overwhelming, the confinement of life to our tiny planet is the most extraordinary hypothesis of all.”“Even in the past three months we have found evidence from astronomy, biology and geology that make the old theories of life confined to Earth indefensible. I think life is a truly cosmic phenomenon, and terrestrial life is a manifestation of such cosmic life.
It is in this context that I think phenomena like the red rain could be connected with extraterrestrial microbes arriving at the Earth at the present time. In the case of the Kerala red rain a sonic boom was heard prior to the rain. I think a fragment of a comet entering Earth exploded in the high stratosphere and released the red cells that formed the nuclei of raindrops.”Prof Wickramasinghe’s team in the UK have considerable work on the Kerala red rain that was published last year in a paper, ‘Growth and replication of red rain cells at 121oC and their red fluorescence’ co-authored (by Wickramasinghe, Rajkumar Gangappa, Milton Wainwright, Godfrey Louis and Santhosh Kumar) and the results were presented at the SPIE meeting in San Diego, California.

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Bizzare & Odd

First-Ever Pig-Monkey Chimeras Born In Chinese Lab

It was unclear why the piglets died, but the non-chimeric pigs died as well (Image: IG)

“The findings could pave the way toward overcoming the obstacles in the re-engineering of heterogeneous organs and achieve the ultimate goal of human organ reconstruction in a large animal.”

Sometimes when you read “noble cause” statements like that one in scientific papers about research that border on, crosses over or flat-out erases the line of ethics, you can almost hear their eyes winking and their fingers straining to stay crossed from across the ocean. That seems to be the case with most recent stories out of China where scientists have already genetically-edited human embryos, with the twins being born last year and, as far as we know, are still alive. Unfortunately, that may not be the case with the researcher who did the embryo editing – he disappeared for a time and is said to be under constant surveillance. Now, a new report announces that other Chinese researchers have edited pig embryos and, unlike in previous experiments, the embryos were not destroyed and pig-monkey chimeras have been born. How soon before they’re creating pig-human chimeras?

“We believe this work will facilitate future developments in xenogeneic organogenesis, bringing us one step closer to producing tissue-specific functional cells and organs in a large animal model through interspecies blastocyst complementation.”

In China, “one step closer” seems to mean “we may be already doing it (wink-wink).” In a paper published in the journal Protein & Cell and reviewed by New Scientist, co-author Tang Hai, a researcher at the State Key Laboratory of Stem Cell and Reproductive Biology, confirms these are the first full-term pig-monkey chimeras. (In a chimera, each cell is from a separate parent while hybrids cells have combined genetics from both.)

The team modified monkey cells to make them fluorescent, then took embryonic stem cells and injected them into over 4000 pig embryos which were then injected into sows. Ten piglets were born and two were confirmed to be chimeras, with multiple tissues – heart, liver, spleen, lung and skin – partly made of monkey cells. The two piglets died within a week, but so did all of the piglets born alive, which leads Hai to believe the problem had to do with the in-vitro fertilization, not the fact that they were chimeras.

“Interspecies chimerism still has a long way to go before clinical application is possible.”

Does it? This experiment created living pig-monkey chimeras. An experiment in Japan in August 2019 created human-rat chimeras, but the embryos were destroyed early in the process. The same was said to have happened with a human-monkey chimera in China. The latest experiment allowed the embryos to live – albeit without human cells being involved. How long before a human-monkey chimera arrives?

“What happens if the stem cells escape and form human neurons in the brain of the animal? Would it have consciousness? And what happens if these stem cells turn into sperm cells?”

he asks. Núñez assures that Izpisuá’s research team has created mechanisms “so that if human cells migrate to the brain, they will self-destruct.”

Doctor Ángel Raya, the director of the Barcelona Regenerative Medicine Center, asked that question of Estrella Núñez, who worked on the human-monkey experiment and was told they had created mechanisms “so that if human cells migrate to the brain, they will self-destruct.”

The Chinese research team suspect that the deaths could have been due to the IVF process instead than the chimerism (Image: GETTY)

When the shortage of human organs for transplants becomes acute, what decision will those with money make? Past experience tells us that in these situations, the first thing to “self-destruct” is ethics.

Do you hear the wink-winking?

Source: Mysterious Universe

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Bizzare & Odd

Amateur Astronomer records a mysterious explosion on the Moon

On December 1, 2019, Peter Lawrence of Thornton, an English astronomer, recorded a strange red flash on the moon, as if it were an explosion. What caused the red flash?

Something exploded on the moon or was it a lunar wave, a hologram or perhaps a glitch in the matrix or something else?

According to atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley “The technical name of this event is a ‘Ducted Mock-mirage Red Flash.’ As the Moon set, it dipped into a strong temperature inversion layer with warm air above cooler air – light rays bend when they cross the layers, in this case strongly enough that ‘ducting’ occurs — that is, the rays bounce up and down, trapped in an optical duct”, reports spaceweather.

Credit image and video clip Peter Lawrence via Spaceweather.com

How many technical scientific explanations are thought in an instance, to try to give a justification or a plausible answer to an unknown phenomenon. Many researchers are convinced that the Moon is protected by a holographic shield, while others say that the Moon is an artificial object inhabited by extraterrestrial civilizations that use the satellite as a center of control and surveillance of the earth’s humanity.

Lawrence created a short clip of the strange red flash.

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NASA has found new evidence that our Sun is not an ordinary star

THE NASA Parker Solar Probe made the closest flight ever to the sun in August 2018, collecting vast amounts of data using cutting-edge scientific instruments at a distance of 24 million kilometers – a mission that also set the highest speed record ever achieved by a man made object. 

About two years ago, NASA launched the Parker space probe toward the Sun, which finally reached the distance closest to our star and transmitted the first results of its observations of the luminary. It turned out that the strangeness in the behavior of the magnetic field of the Sun, including its ultrafast turns, lasting only a few seconds, does not end there. How can our seemingly well-studied star surprise us?

Scientists are beginning to spread what they have learned from the collected data. Four new articles published in the Nature magazine reveal new discoveries that may rewrite the way we understand the way stars are born, evolve and die. They can also help us find new ways to protect astronauts from harsh space conditions while traveling long distances through the Solar System.

Our sun may be weirder than it seems

Why is the corona of the sun hotter than its surface?

According to the portal newsweek.com, the first results of the mission were published in four scientific articles of the journal Nature. Despite the fact that the Sun is a key factor in the existence of life on Earth, there are huge gaps in our understanding of the whole multitude of phenomena occurring in its vicinity. So, it is known that the corona – the outermost part of the atmosphere – is much hotter than the surface of the Sun, reaching about a million degrees Celsius compared to 5500 degrees. The reason for this phenomenon is still unknown to scientists. At the same time, our star also produces the so-called solar wind, which constantly bombards Earth’s magnetic field. However, how exactly and why does it arise?

In order to help specialists understand such difficult issues, the Parker probe was designed, which came closer to the Sun than any other artificial object in the history of mankind. During his last three flights, scheduled for 2024 and 2025, it will approach the surface of the Sun at a distance of 6 million kilometers. Currently, the solar probe rotates at an approximate distance of about 24 million kilometers from our star at its closest point from the star.

The solar corona is fraught with many mysteries

The first studies of the space probe were aimed at studying the solar corona and its magnetic fields. It is known that it is the corona that produces the electrons of the solar wind, which are noticeably accelerated, leaving the place of its appearance.

Stuart Bale, principal researcher of the instrument cluster on board the probe at the University of California, Berkeley, said:

The complexity was mind-boggling when we began to examine the data. Now, I got used to it. But when I show colleagues for the first time, they are impressed.

The most surprising finding that the teams made was that the magnetic fields emanating from our star seemed to unexpectedly spin back and forth, causing local disturbances – what scientists called ‘switchbacks’ – which might even make them point back to the sun a few times.

The cause of this is still a mystery to scientists, but they can enable us to understand how energy flows away from the sun and throughout the solar system.

Justin Kasper, principal investigator at the University of Michigan, said in announcement:

Waves have been seen in the solar wind since the beginning of the space age, and we assumed that closer to the sun the waves would get stronger, but we did not expect to see them organize themselves at these structured and coherent peaks of speed.

Using new observations, the team found that while a “fast” solar wind, whose speed can reach 900 kilometers per second, comes from large holes in the corona at the North and South poles of the Sun, a “slow” solar wind comes from smaller holes in that part of the corona, which is located near the equator. It is known that the fastest recorded solar winds moved at a speed of 1.8 million kilometers per hour.

A team from NASA has also proven that the solar wind revolves around the Sun 10 to 20 times faster than standard models predicted. Such impressive speeds can be associated with unexpected changes in the magnetic field of a star. Researchers have discovered that magnetic fields can be traced down to coronal holes, sometimes suddenly turning as much as 180 degrees in just a few seconds.

Nicola Fox, director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA headquarters, said in the statement:

The sun is the only star we can look at close. Getting source data is already revolutionizing our understanding of our own star and stars throughout the universe. Our small spaceship is facing brutal conditions to send home surprising and exciting revelations.

Currently, the Parker solar probe continues to revolve around our star, getting a little closer with each circle. Activity on the sun increases and decreases during the 11-year cycle, which is currently in the “solar minimum”, characterized by fewer sunspots than usual. In the coming years, the activity of the Sun will increase until it reaches the so-called “solar maximum”, which will occur at the end of the mission of the Parker probe in 2024.

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