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Panspermia in the eyes of Dan Brown...
 
Deception Point: A Synopsis
 

Deception Point

Synopsis

When a new NASA satellite detects evidence of an astonishingly rare object buried deep in the Arctic ice, the floundering space agency proclaims a much-needed victory -- a victory that has profound implications for U.S. space policy and the impending presidential election. With the Oval Office in the balance, the President dispatches White House Intelligence analyst Rachel Sexton to the Arctic to verify the authenticity of the find. Accompanied by a team of experts, including the charismatic academic Michael Tolland, Rachel uncovers the unthinkable: evidence of scientific trickery -- a bold deception that threatens to plunge the world into controversy. But before Rachel can make her findings known, she realizes, perhaps too late, that such knowledge puts her and Tolland in deadly jeopardy. Fleeing for their lives in an environment as desolate as it is lethal, they possess only one hope for survival: to find out who is behind this masterful ploy. The truth, they will learn, is the most shocking deception of all.

      --- as found at the back of the paperback

      The central characters in this novel are Zach Herney (US President), Senator Sexton, his opponent in the presidential race, William Pickering, the NRO (National Reconnaissance Office) Head, Marjorie Tench, who is one of the senior advisers of the President, Rachel Sexton, the US Intelligence Analyst (an NRO Employee and daughter of Senator Sexton) and Michael Tolland, a TV star and oceanographer.

      Amidst the coming presidential elections, NASA discovered a meteorite (dated 1716) with fossils of giant lice (Order Isopoda if found on earth but is a deviant in terms of size). To verify the authenticity of the claim, which is in effect to verify Panspermia—the theory that life is seeded by outer space—President Herney tapped four civilian scientists including Rachel Sexton, the daughter of his opponent in the elections whose prime propaganda is the abolishment of NASA on the ground that it is wasting billions of dollars in an agency that is useless (There was even a crispy statement made by Sen. Sexton worth quoting “If aliens are found, I’ll eat my hat”). The civilian scientists were initially appalled by the discovery that there were fossils of giant lice (this remarkable growth according to them can only be possible if there is less gravity—ergo, it must be from outer space)in the meteorite. They made an announcement to the world (along with the NASA Head, NRO head and Pres. Zach Herney) of the discovery that lopsided the chance of Sen. Sexton in winning and occupying the White House. After a lot of hullabaloos regarding the momentous discovery that life on earth is indeed patterned to that of outer space (considering the similarities in isopods on earth and those found at the meteorite), and that life on earth is indeed seeded by outer space, on the site of extraction, the civilian scientists accidentally discovered that there were flagellates (specifically bioluminescent flagellates). They began to wonder how these flagellates have reached the extraction pit wherein it is supposed to be a tightly- closed area. They traced the path and found out that the meteorite was planted in the Arctic ice shelf! They began to be skeptical about the discovery of both the meteorite and the fossils in it and as they do, mysterious accidents seem to follow them. Out of the five civilian scientists, two were killed, and as they began gathering evidences of the deception, they were now being obviously nailed down (by unknown forces). The three remaining scientists, Corky, Michael and Rachel Sexton survived all murder plots and as they run for their lives, they were able to conclude (through underground researches and experimentation) that the meteorite is an ordinary rock which underwent lots of chemical processes for it to develop fusion crust and layers of glaciers on it (glacier layers are like rings on trees—the more the layers, the older it is—but in this case it was maneuvered to look old). The fossils were planted also for they were able to connect that there are areas on earth with lesser gravity—of course that is underwater, so that means if lice are made to adapt to water, they can grow that big. (Personal note: this is why most really huge animals are found in the sea). After finding out the truth, their next target was to find out who is the brain behind the deception. They first suspected that it was the President (he needs to win, desperately, they thought) but later found out that it was the NRO head, the respectful and gallant boss of Rachel Sexton (he was killed at the end). President Zach Herney made an apology at the end but he nevertheless won the hearts and admiration of his people upon the admission and upon the discovery of a sex scandal between Senator Sexton and his secretary. On a lighter note, Rachel Sexton and Michael Tolland ended playing some sweet music together.

 

 

 

  new frontiers: origins
  Life from Space: An Emerging Paradigm
  By N. Chandra Wickramasinghe
 
An ActionBioscience.org original article


                article
highlights 
              
The author proposes a controversial idea that life on Earth came from outer space, since:

  • microorganisms arrived on comets that crashed to prebiotic Earth
  • early Earth did not have ideal conditions to produce life on its own
  • comets continue to seed Earth with microorganisms that interact with existing species


May   2001


Life from Space: An Emerging Paradigm
By N. Chandra Wickramasinghe

 

Recently, scientists at University of California, Berkeley, have shown that organic molecules travelling through space on comets could have survived their impact with Earth and could have seeded life on our planet. The university will also conduct research in the near future on whether cometary microorganisms could survive the impact and the results may support the hypothesis presented by Wickramasinghe and Hoyle.

One theory of how life on Earth began is that it didn't start here at all. Life may have arrived from outer space on a comet. This is called the 'panspermia theory'..


Data suggests that microorganisms are present in cosmic debris that falls to Earth.

Where did we come from?

The radical answer proposed by Fred Hoyle and myself in the late 1970s was that we came from space!1 Our genes and those of all living forms on Earth were brought here by comets, neatly packaged within cosmic microorganisms. The idea was not plucked out of the skies, but was the result of careful analysis of astronomical and biological data over several years. In the paper Evolution of Life: A Cosmic Perspective, posted on this site, Fred Hoyle and I present the main technical arguments in support of our views.

 

Mainstream science believes life originated on Earth, by molecules interacting in a primordial pond.


Initial resistance to this theory stemmed from two reasons:

  • It flew in the face of a long-established paradigm of an Earthly origin of life from organic soup.
  • The marriage of biology and astronomy was fraught with difficulties. There was a sociological problem that arose from the artificial separation of scientific disciplines within University departments. Life was considered the prerogative of biologists, the Universe of stars and galaxies that of astronomers. And it was decreed by some unwritten law that never the twain shall meet.

 

 

The author believes a primordial pond was too limited to produce life.

 

 

 

How did the Cosmic Ancestry hypothesis develop?

The facts always led the way for Fred Hoyle and myself. The information content of life, even in its simplest form, had to be reckoned with on a super  astronomical scale. So we argued the molecular arrangements bearing this information could not arise under the hopelessly diminutive conditions that existed in a "warm little terrestrial pond." The origin of life must surely involve the combined resources of all the stars in all the galaxies of the Universe. Once originated, however, the dispersal and distribution of life across cosmic distances would be assured by virtue of the well-attested resistance of bacteria to the harshest of conditions in space.

The next fact in our favor was that life appears on early Earth when comets were colliding with great frequency and when the planet had neither a stable ocean or atmosphere.2 The conditions on Earth at this time were manifestly unsuitable for producing even the chemical building blocks of life indigenously. In our picture it was easy to see how both the organic feedstock of life and life itself could have arrived on Earth along with the colliding comets.

About 1/3 of interstellar dust can contain bacteria-like, organic particles.


In the late 1970s there was also a growing body of evidence for biochemical substances in the interstellar clouds of deep space.3 Astronomical observations, first made by my brother Professor Dayal Wickramasinghe of the Australian National University and David Allen, showed in 1979 that cosmic dust had a composition similar to dried out bacteria.4 They also showed the same conclusion to hold for the dust that flowed out of Halley's comet in March 1986.5 The discovery that clinched our hypothesis was the realisation that one third of all the available carbon in interstellar space had to be tied up in the form of hollow organic particles with the average size of a bacterium and with spectral properties that could not be distinguished from biological material. No other process apart from biology seemed reasonable to invoke in order to produce the vast amount (some 1030 tonnes) of bacteria-like matter that existed in our galaxy alone.6

Bacteria can multiply inside a comet, which has a warm, liquid interior.


So the logic that emerged in the early 1980s from our work was as follows:

  1. Life with all its basic genetic information originated, not on Earth but on a grand cosmic scale.
  2. Viable bacterial cells are present in interstellar clouds (they appear as dark patches and striations against the background of the Milky Way).
  3. Bacterial cells are included in the clouds that collapse to form stars, comets and planets.
  4. Anaerobic bacteria replicate and increase their numbers vastly in the warm liquid interiors of comets.
  5. Comets (100 billion of them in our solar system alone) shed viable material onto the surfaces of planets like Earth, and also return amplified biological material back in to space for the continued operation of steps 2-5.


About 100 tons of cosmic debris arrive on Earth daily.


Cosmic microorganisms can change the evolution of Earth's species.

What could happen if life continues to arrive on Earth?

If, according to our view of astrobiology, we were indeed made up of space-bugs several important consequences would follow. The continued arrival of comet debris to Earth at the rate of some 100 tons per day must surely bring in new bugs. Such bugs could do one of three things:

  • They fall to the surface and do not interact with terrestrial life forms.
  • They interact with terrestrial life by adding to the genomes of plants and animal, and thus assist evolution.
  • They could attack terrestrial lifeforms and lead to epidemics of disease.

 

The new field of astrobiology searches for alien microbial life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A trend to accept at least some of these conclusions began just after the announcement in 1996 by NASA scientists that they may have found evidence of bacterial fossils in a meteorite that came from Mars.7 Although this claim itself is still in dispute, it would nevertheless seem to have signalled an important and long overdue paradigm shift - from a purely Earth-based theory of life to one in which cosmic inputs are considered to be a vital component.8 The variants of the theory currently being discussed range from the concept of organic chemicals alone coming from space to the concept that ready-formed microorganisms arrive from comets.

What can the study of Astrobiology accomplish?

The transfer of microbial life between objects within the solar system is nowadays taken for granted. Projects to search for life on planets and comets are under way. An Astrobiology Institute under the auspices of NASA was set up a few years back and other countries are following suit. Recently the first Centre for Astrobiology in the UK was started at Cardiff University in Wales. Astrobiology has moved into the realm of conventional science.

A decisive experiment to show that microbial life is still arriving to Earth via comets is being planned by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) in collaboration with the Cardiff group. The aim is to collect large quantities of stratospheric air using sterile equipment (cryopumps) carried aboard balloons, and to search these samples for hints of alien microbial life. 

 

 

If we accept the author's idea, some of our views of evolution will change.

The first unequivocal detection of such alien life would undoubtedly mark the most important turning point in Science for many centuries. Its importance could be on par with the discoveries of Kepler, Galilleo and Newton in the 15th and 16th centuries, and those of Darwin in the 19th century.

In the broadest perspective, the acceptance of the idea of life existing outside Earth would have profound implications for the future progress of the human race.

  • Humankind would be forced to accept the role of being just another lifeform on a quite ordinary planet, Earth, which is one of many billions of similar planets orbiting countess stars in the Universe.
  • Our perceptions of ourselves, our sense of self-importance and self-esteem would be dramatically altered when the full importance of the discovery of extraterrestrial life comes to be recognized.
  • At long last we would be forced to accept our true ancestral links with the cosmos, hopefully leading to the emergence of an all-encompassing cosmic world-view.