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back to article Douglas Adams was RIGHT! TINY ALIENS are invading Earth, say boffins

Aliens rained down on Earth from space, possibly sprinkling microbes on our once lifeless planet, according to boffins from the University of Sheffield. And the scientists claim they managed to photograph one of the extraterrestrial blighters from a balloon. The balloon was launched to a height of 27km, which the eggheads argue …

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Joke

Moonlighting?

And the scientists claim they managed to photograph one of the extraterrestrial blighters from a balloon.

OK, so who's going to talk to our intrepid Playmonaut about his covert second job?

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Alien

Re: Moonlighting?

And I hope the next time he ascends he will be provided with suitable protection to prevent infection.

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Re: Moonlighting?

One of those London Rubber Company hazmat suits should do the trick nicely, although depending on where he lands he might have some explaining to do.

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Re: Moonlighting?

Screw *his* protection - what about us?

Do we really want Lester re-enacting The Quatermass Experiment?

We'll have to plunge the Playmonaut into 100% alcohol on his return - it's the only way to be sure.

I suspect he won't protest too much.

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Yippee-ki-yay, Motherfucker.

Was the name ot the alien Hans?

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Coat

Re: Moonlighting?

>OK, so who's going to talk to our intrepid Playmonaut about his covert second job?

Um, you mean panspermia?

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Re: Moonlighting?

Nah, panspermia is a legal defense in a paternity suit.

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Alien

Now...

...if they can be found at 42km above the earth then the boffins would definitely be right.

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Re: Now...

No doubt, considering that jet powered flight reached the 27000 m level 55 years ago (F 104), it is hardly a surprise that one could find simple 'life' or proto-materials. Explaining how they survived deep space/solar radiation for any significant period of time has been a bit lacking to say the least, and the Mars theory seems unlikely what with recent findings or lack thereof wrt methane.

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Re: Now...

Mars doesn't have life now, but was more hospitable to life a few billion years ago, when it still had a thick atmosphere and liquid water on the surface.

It's likely to have been hospitable to life before Earth was, so entirely reasonable that life could have been carried here from Mars.

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Alien

Re: Now...

I'd say the chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one.

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Re: Now...

And still, they come.

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WTF?

Journal of Cosmology?

Having a paper "published in the Journal of Cosmology" doesn't mean it is actually science, any more than having a reader's letter published in the Witley Scrotum Herald means you're a journalist.

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Re: Journal of Cosmology?

Having a paper published in the Journal of Cosmology means it definitely isn't science.

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Re: Journal of Cosmology?

The Bad Astronomer has a full takedown on this: http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/09/20/et_claims_of_alien_life_in_earth_s_atmosphere_are_unfounded.html

tl;dr - is this evidence of microbes from space? No, not even close

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: Journal of Cosmology?

"is this evidence of microbes from space? No, not even close"

Aw, and deny us our Douglas Adams headline? :-(

C.

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Re: Journal of Cosmology?

well, you had your cake with the headline but you got to eat it too with these gems: "(get your pinch of salt ready)" and, my fave, "suspiciously easy to read" !

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Re: Journal of Cosmology?

Of course Douglas Adams was right. About Life, Universe and Everything.

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Re: Journal of Cosmology?

" The Bad Astronomer has a full takedown on this: http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/09/20/et_claims_of_alien_life_in_earth_s_atmosphere_are_unfounded.html "

Excellent article and worded in the style of The Reg. I wonder if The Reg would consider articles from him.

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I find your use of the word 'boffin' offensive

People behind this study simply do not deserve the title.

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Joke

Re: I find your use of the word 'boffin' offensive

Why so angry? Nobody's asking YOU to boff them, are they?

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Alien

Eek!

I know that photo...

Andromeda.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066769/

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Re: Eek!

Quick, save yourself, start drinking!

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There's a fire, sir!

They already have Andromeda programmed! The purpose of Scoop was to find new biological weapons in outer space, and then use Wildfire to develop them!

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Strange

...but my wife doesn't appear to be herself lately. She lacks emotion and...... she just changed overnight. I noticed other people have been posting similar messages... I wonder what could be happening.......

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Joke

Re: Strange

Human!!!

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Re: she just changed overnight

You get married yesterday?

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Black Helicopters

Conspiracy Theorists

They are going to be all over this.

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Re: Conspiracy Theorists

This is all over the conspiracy theorists!

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LOHAN contamination.

Clearly, there are other balloons in the sky that may have introduced material into the upper stratosphere. Probability is miniscule, but more likely than a continuous rain of microbes from spaaace. In fact a concentration in the upper atmosphere that is high enough to detect in a single sample drawer implies a concentration in space that satellite dust collection experiments would have found by now.

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Right with you there

How about the fact that there were rocket launches on 25th and 27th July (well within the six day window in the paper? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_in_spaceflight#July One of those was from Kourou, which is a km or two from the sea.

You know, the big wet place where diatoms live. The big wet place where seabirds eat stuff from. Stuff that probably has diatoms trapped in various orifaces, not to mention being covered in diatomy seawater. Seabirds that like to crap all over other stuff left in the open. Stuff like giant space rockets a couple of km from the sea.

Occam's razor my arse.

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Re: LOHAN contamination.

<<In fact a concentration in the upper atmosphere that is high enough to detect in a single sample drawer implies a concentration in space that satellite dust collection experiments would have found by now.>>

I suspect it implies a concentration thick enough you wouldn't be able to see the planets let alone the stars.

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Re: Right with you there

Or come to think of it, could have been from any space launch near the sea really. No reason why the diatom-infested crap has to shake loose inside the atmosphere at all. Could have been released in to LEO during staging or when the payload faring is removed, etc.. Give it a few years of minuscule atmospheric drag and it's going to de-orbit eventually.

I think my bird crap theory is infinitely more plausible than their totally crap theory.

(Spelled 'Orifices' wrong above, so sorry for that).

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Facepalm

Re: LOHAN contamination.

Other balloons? Rocket launches? For my money the microbes hitched a lift up to that altitude on the same flight as the sampling kit. Their shield may have prevented the sample drawer being contaminated directly by the balloon, but the balloon must have contaminated the atmosphere being sampled. Or the microbes were on the outside of the sampling box and shook loose at sample time. I can't see how this method could possibly produce an uncontaminated sample (Which unfortunately makes it likely their efforts will shortly be 'successfully' replicated.)

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Re: Right with you there

Phil Plait is not exactly enamoured with the report neither

http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/09/20/et_claims_of_alien_life_in_earth_s_atmosphere_are_unfounded.html

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Re: LOHAN contamination.

"microbes hitched a lift up"

I shall believe that only when their towels are recovered.

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Re: Right with you there

Plait is a bit of an idiot the moment he asks " why wasn’t it embedded in some bit of rock?". Eh-mm perhaps it wouldn't stay up that long with the added weight? So perhaps we have a self-selecting mechanism here: the most clean and free of soil being the most available.

As far as his other brilliant deduction goes : "And just because they can’t think of a way to get it up there doesn’t mean there isn’t one". And one way to find out would be to take a sample and perhaps get an idea where it was coming from?

Phil is spot on about a couple of other things though. Just overreaching a bit.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Right with you there

>Which unfortunately makes it likely their efforts will shortly be 'successfully' replicated.

New keyboard sir.

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Re: Right with you there

>Occam's razor my arse.

That explains where the contamination occurred and possibly any 'foreign' bodies.

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Occam's growing a beard...

Readers are advised to check the Wikipedia entry on the Journal of Cosmology immediately after reading this piece.

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Anonymous Coward

Journal of Cosmology = garbage

It's about as bat-shit insane as the Time Cube guy, and this is not the first time that the guys from Uni. Sheff. have gotten mixed up with them - you've reported on them before, the last time they discovered some bullshit so-called proof of panspermia. It was garbage then and it's garbage now.

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Anonymous Coward

"not the first time", and joke already done.

While trying to find the story I referred to above, I found an article reporting an earlier epic fail by JoC:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/07/meteorite_bacteria/

Amusingly enough, a commentard on that story already made the joke about it being the Vl'hurg invasion fleet:

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/1003998

I think I was wrong about the Uni. Sheff having tangled with JoC before though; I think I was in fact remembering this story about "research" published by JoC and Cardiff Uni:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/03/11/comet_algae_hystrichospheres/

Ho hum. JoC seems to discover "proof" of panspermia every few months. Remarkable how nobody else ever does.

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Re: "not the first time", and joke already done.

"... wrong about the Uni. Sheff" ?

Milton Wainwright at Sheffield has been associated with Chandra Wickramasinghe, who had been at Cardiff and is now at Buckingham, for quite some while. For example, they were both involved with the somewhat extravagant 'spores from space' story which purported to explain the red rain in Kerala in 2001 and which was kept going for years with suggestions that alien DNA might be identified in samples that had been collected.

Their latest concoction seems to be getting national press coverage. I've been wondering that this might be down to Benny Peiser, who is a Visiting Fellow at Buckingham and heads Nigel Lawson's Global Warming Policy Foundation. This is well connected at the Daily Telegraph.

How microbes from space might fit with a spoiler campaign against the latest IPCC report I don't know, but sadly something along these lines is not beyond the bounds of possibility.

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Re: "not the first time", and joke already done.

Indeed, no good can come from crossing the Wainwright-Wickramasinghe streams.

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Re: "not the first time", and joke already done.

>How microbes from space might fit with a spoiler campaign against the latest IPCC report I don't know, but sadly something along these lines is not beyond the bounds of possibility.

Microbes From Space Prove Global Warming is Real

/headline

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Alien

ISS et al

One would imagine that the ISS must be covered in the blighters, sort of like leaving a car parked under a tree during nesting season. Given there's been no missions that I'm aware of that have deployed windscreen wipers to the cupola, I'm sensing that's not the case.

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Re: ISS et al

Astronauts always shower down while still in the airlock, you know.

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Of course DNA was right--about that. He was just wrong about working out in a Santa Barbara gym.

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