From: Rob McCafferty <rob_mccafferty_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Sat Sep 16 21:27:41 2006
Message-ID: <20060917012738.86939.qmail_at_web50911.mail.yahoo.com>

It's amazing what these journals will publish these

Most of us would read this and think "hmmm, don't se
what's wrong with that" but history teaches that we
cannot accept an argument simply because it sounds

Get a high altitude NASA jet up there and scoop the
air with that aerogel (or similar) and I bet they
don't find anything, especially not highly elvolved
upper atmospheric bacteria.

I love the concept of them evolving up there into

Just one question...what the smeg to they feed on
while they're at 200,000 ft evolving from ground based
bugs to astronauts? Micrometeorites?

Rob McCafferty

> Electromagnetic space travel for bugs?
> 21 July 2006
> NewScientist.com news service
> David L Chandler
> Life on planets such as Earth or Mars could have
> been
> seeded by electrically charged microbes from space,
> suggests a new study.
> Since the discovery of meteorites from Mars on Earth
> in the 1990s, people have speculated that living
> microbes
> could have traveled back and forth between the two
> planets, perhaps allowing one planet to seed the
> other
> with life.
> The problem with this idea is that such a trip could
> only happen after a huge asteroid collided with one
> of the planets, with an impact large enough to blast
> rocks off the planet's surface, and such strikes are
> extremely rare: just a handful are thought to have
> occurred since the solar system formed.
> However, a new study suggests there may be a much
> gentler and steadier way for microbial life to leave
> a
> planet and travel to other worlds - and even from
> one
> solar system to another, something even the biggest
> impacts could not do.
> The startling conclusion grew out of work by Tom
> Dehel,
> an electrical engineer at the US Federal Aviation
> Administration,
> who was investigating how electromagnetic fields in
> the
> Earth's atmosphere can affect GPS satellites and
> disrupt
> their use for aircraft navigation. He presented his
> findings
> at the biennial meeting of the international
> Committee on
> Space Research (COSPAR), in Beijing, China, this
> week.
> Dehel calculated the effect of electric fields at
> various levels
> in the atmosphere on a bacterium that was carrying
> an
> electric charge. He showed that such bacteria could
> easily
> be ejected from the Earth's gravitational field by
> the same
> kind of electromagnetic fields that generate
> auroras. And
> these fields occur every day, unlike the
> extraordinarily large
> surface impacts needed to eject interplanetary
> meteorites.
> Near-vacuum
> The measurements of field strength vary greatly at
> different
> levels of the atmosphere - the strongest ones are
> near the
> surface, generated by thunderstorms. There are large
> gaps
> where the fields have not been measured directly,
> but
> assuming the fields extend through the whole air
> column,
> there could be an ongoing, sustained process of
> lofting
> bacteria high into the atmosphere.
> Since the upward forces of the magnetic field would
> balance
> the force of gravity for tiny organisms, they could
> float in
> the upper atmosphere for years and reproduce there,
> giving
> them a chance to evolve capabilities to endure the
> hardships
> of that environment, including coping with strong UV
> and a
> near-vacuum. Such organisms would thus be well
> equipped
> to endure the rigours of a journey through space,
> Dehel told
> New Scientist.
> The idea that microbes could be electrically
> levitated into
> the upper atmosphere was first suggested in 1908 by
> chemist
> Svante Arrhenius, but until recently there had been
> no direct
> measurements of the strength of electric fields high
> in the
> atmosphere to show whether the mechanism would work
> to propel microbes away from the planet.
> Other researchers have already demonstrated that
> some
> bacterial spores can survive in conditions thought
> to exist in
> interplanetary space, and then be revived. So the
> possibility of
> interplanetary spread of life is plausible and
> deserves further
> investigation, Dehel believes.
> Charged microbes could also be propelled outwards
> from
> a planet at high speed by "magnetospheric plasmoids"
> -
> independent structures of plasma and magnetic fields
> that can be swept away from the Earth's
> magnetosphere.
> Hitching rides on these structures could accelerate
> microbes to speeds capable of taking them out of the
> solar system and on to the planets of other stars.
> And because of the potential for a steady outflow of
> the particles pushed by the electric fields, a
> single
> life-bearing world might seed an entire galaxy with
> life,
> claims Dehel.

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Received on Sat 16 Sep 2006 09:27:38 PM PDT

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