Life from Space Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe look for Life from Space


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By kind permission of the Master and Fellows of St John's College. Photographer Unknown

Since Fred’s death in August 2001 a continuing stream of new data has provided more proof of their theory.

In 2001 the ISRO stratospheric sampling of the stratosphere found evidence of bacteria of presumed cometary origin.

Between 2001 and 2006 comet missions continued to provide amazing consistency with the Hoyle-Wickramasinghe model.

Between 2001-2010 the role of viruses in evolution of life became generally accepted after the completion of the Human Genome Project. Viral fingerprints everywhere in our genes, exactly as Hoyle-Wickramasinghe predicted.

The unravelling of the human genome as well as the genomes of our nearest ancestors from 2001 onwards has led to many surprises. The number of useful genes in our genome has been reckoned close to 25,000, and over 8% of our total genome has been found to be comprised of gene sequences derived from viruses. These virus-related sequences are also present in our nearest evolutionary neighbours including chimpanzees. The picture now emerging is of our ancestral line being struck at regular intervals by devastating pandemics of viral disease. At each such pandemic all but a small immune breeding group were killed leaving the survivors carrying a residue of the virus in their genes.

Between 2004 and 2014 the discovery of habitable exoplanets have made panspermia - the transfer of life between planetary systems - inevitable. The current total in the galaxy exceeds 100 billion and there will be no stopping of life-exchanges between planetary systems. We live in one connected biosphere on a super galactic scale.

Between 2000 and 2015 the oldest evidence of life on Earth has moved back in time from 3.5 billion years ago to 3.83 billion years to 4.1 billion years. Fred suggested in late 1998 4.5 billion years (in a yet unpublished work). The oldest evidence currently accepted places this moment so far back that the primordial soup theory is virtually squeezed out of the geological record.

During 2014 to 2016 the Rosetta Mission to comet 67P/C-G has provided evidence that can most easily be explained by microbiology beneath a frozen crust. Space probes of Pluto, Enceladus and Ceres also show tantalising evidence of ongoing microbiology.