If a group of scientists are correct, tiny fossils uncovered inside a meteorite found in Sri Lanka in December are proof of extraterrestrial life.
In a detailed paper called "Fossil Diatoms In A New Carbonaceous Meteorite" that is appearing in the Journal of Cosmology
, Chandra Wickramasinghe claims to have found strong evidence that life exists throughout the universe.
An electron microscope was used to study the reported remains of a large meteorite (see image below) that fell near the Sri Lanka village of Polonnaruwa on Dec. 29.
Wickramasinghe is the director of the Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology at the University of Buckingham in the U.K. In December, he and his colleagues found "a microstructure and morphology characteristic of a wide class of terrestrial diatoms." The group concluded that "the presence of structures of this kind in any extraterrestrial setting could be construed as unequivocal proof of biology" -- in other words, proof of life outside of planet Earth.
Wickramasinghe and English astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle have co-developed a theory known as "panspermia," which suggests that life exists throughout the universe and is distributed by meteoroids and asteroids.
"We conclude ... that the identification of fossilised diatoms [as shown in the image below] in the Polonnaruwa meteorite is firmly established and unimpeachable. Since this meteorite is considered to be an extinct cometary fragment, the idea of microbial life carried within comets and the theory of cometary panspermia is thus vindicated," Wickramasinghe wrote in the research paper.